Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Psychology

Committee Member

Dr. Richard Pak, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Kelly Caine

Committee Member

Dr. Patrick Rosopa


Complacency refers to a type of automation use expressed as insufficient monitoring and verification of automated functions. Previous studies have attempted to identify the age-related factors that influence complacency during interaction with automation. However, little is known about the role of age-related differences in working memory capacity and its connection to complacent behaviors. The current study examined whether working memory demand of an automated task and age-related differences in cognitive ability influence complacency. Working memory demand was manipulated in the task with two degrees of automation (i.e., information and decision). A younger and older age group was included to observe the effects of differences in working memory capacity on performance in a targeting task using an automated aid. The results of the study show that younger and older adults did not significantly differ in complacent behavior for information or decision automation. Also, individual differences in working memory capacity did not predict complacency in the automated task. However, these findings do not disprove the role of working memory in automation-induced complacency. Both age groups were more complacent with automation that had less working memory demand. Our findings suggest systems that utilize both higher and lower degrees of automation could limit overdependence. These results provide implications for the design of automated interfaces.



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