Objective: We investigated how automation-induced human performance consequences depended on the degree of automation (DOA).
Background: Function allocation between human and automation can be represented in terms of the stages and levels taxonomy proposed by Parasuraman, Sheridan, and Wickens. Higher DOAs are achieved both by later stages and higher levels within stages.
Method: A meta-analysis based on data of 18 experiments examines the mediating effects of DOA on routine system performance, performance when the automation fails, workload, and situation awareness (SA). The effects of DOA on these measures are summarized by level of statistical significance.
Results: We found (a) a clear automation benefit for routine system performance with increasing DOA, (b) a similar but weaker pattern for workload when automation functioned properly, and (c) a negative impact of higher DOA on failure system performance and SA. Most interesting was the finding that negative consequences of automation seem to be most likely when DOA moved across a critical boundary, which was identified between automation supporting information analysis and automation supporting action selection.
Conclusion: Results support the proposed cost-benefit trade-off with regard to DOA. It seems that routine performance and workload on one hand, and the potential loss of SA and manual skills on the other hand, directly trade off and that appropriate function allocation can serve only one of the two aspects.
Application: Findings contribute to the body of research on adequate function allocation by providing an overall picture through quantitatively combining data from a variety of studies across varying domains.