System structure and cognitive ability as predictors of performance in dynamic system control tasks

  • Jan Hundertmark (Author)
    Heidelberg University
  • Daniel V. Holt (Author)
    Heidelberg University
  • Andreas Fischer (Author)
    Heidelberg University
  • Nadia Said (Author)
    Heidelberg University
  • Helen Fischer (Author)
    Heidelberg University

Identifiers (Article)


In dynamic system control, cognitive mechanisms and abilities underlying performance may vary depending on the nature of the task. We therefore investigated the effects of system structure and its interaction with cognitive abilities on system control performance. A sample of 127 university students completed a series of different system control tasks that were manipulated in terms of system size and recurrent feedback, either with or without a cognitive load manipulation. Cognitive abilities assessed included reasoning ability, working memory capacity, and cognitive reflection. System size and recurrent feedback affected overall performance as expected. Overall, the results support that cognitive ability is a good predictor of performance in dynamic system control tasks but predictiveness is reduced when the system structure contains recurrent feedback. We discuss this finding from a cognitive processing perspective as well as its implications for individual differences research in dynamic systems.


Type, method or approach
original empirical work
dynamic system control, complex problem solving, reasoning ability, working memory