Beware of switching onto auto-pilot

Article in new British Computer Society journal on Brian Toft’s research (pdf, 74K) into the dangers of automatic behaviour. “Despite using verbal checks to ensure patient safety, healthcare staff make mistakes. One explanation for this is that they respond automatically to questioning without matching their actions to their words.” (Health Informatics Now, Vol 1, No.1, pdf 941K). Or to put it another way using research from the aircraft industry: “It is tempting for the pilot to regard a rapid dismissal of checklist items as indicative of his skill and familiarity with the aircraft, but, if checklists are dealt with in this automatic way, it is very easy for the pilot to see what he expects to see rather than what is there.”  Perhaps worth thinking about for shift handover design too?