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Katz, Hillary B.; Smith-Spark, James H.; Wilcockson, Thomas; Marchant, Alexander (2015)
Publisher: CEUR Workshop Proceedings
Types: Unknown
Subjects: Mind-wandering, Working memory, Attention, Quality control checking, Short-term memory
Labelling errors on fresh produce are estimated to cost the UK supermarket industry £50m per year in product recalls and wastage. Such errors occur despite robust quality control procedures. Given the financial and environmental impact of these errors, it is important to understand whether label-checking performance can be predicted by individual differences in cognitive abilities. To this end, participants carried out a simulated label-checking task together with a number of measures of information processing speed, attention, short-term/working memory, and mind-wandering. Accuracy of label checking was found to be significantly predicted by three of the measures, with better short-term verbal memory being most strongly associated with performance. Cognitive tests such as these provide a means of identifying how well employees are likely to perform when undertaking such tasks and, if necessary, how they should be supported in that role, possibly forming a screening battery when recruiting new quality control staff. The findings highlight the importance of determining the component processes of cognition which contribute to performance in real-world work environments.
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