In Brief

  • Humans often make inflated estimates of their own ability or performance, which can affect decision making, risk taking and safety.

  • This article describes a conceptual framework for calibration in driving, which is grounded in attention and a variety of contextual factors, along with its implications for performance, behavior and risk perception.

  • It discusses implications for occupational settings and the role and impact of new in-vehicle technology and automation.

  • The article describes potential inroads for addressing the issues of calibration in the work setting.

In the course of their daily lives, people selectively attend to available information and render judgments about the state of the world. These occur in various contexts including judgments concerning one's own performance (e.g., how well am I currently doing at this task?) or the amount of risk associated with a given situation. People also carry out, sometimes immodestly, general self-appraisals, evaluating how skillful or capable they are in different contexts. People's perceptions of the world and of their own efficacy and ability can have important implications concerning their decision making and consequent behaviors.

From a safety perspective, it is critical to understand situations where people's perceptions or subjective appraisals deviate from objective reality. For example, a fatigued driver may elect to continue driving because he fails to adequately recognize the signs of fatigue or overestimates his ability to safely drive. Or an inexperienced driver may be overconfident in her driving skills and abilities, and travel at a high speed on a slippery surface. Gaps in subjective and objective measures have been related to calibration, a concept that has been broadly studied in many disciplines (Zell & Krizan, 2014).

This article reviews some extant literature on calibration in various domains, and describes a conceptual driver-focused framework that depicts calibration in the context of human information processing (attention) and an array of local and global contextual factors. It also describes the implications for organizational applications and the role of new automotive technology. Lastly, it discusses potential inroads for addressing the issues of calibration in the work setting.

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