Part-task training in the context of automation: Current and future directions

Robert S. Gutzwiller, Benjamin A. Clegg, John G. Blitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Automation often elicits a divide-and-conquer outlook. By definition, automation has been suggested to assume control over a part or whole task that was previously performed by a human (Parasuraman & Riley, 1997). When such notions of automation are taken as grounds for training, they readily invoke a part-task training (PTT) approach. This article outlines broad functions of automation as a source of PTT and reviews the PTT literature, focusing on the potential benefits and costs related to using automation as a mechanism for PTT. The article reviews some past work in this area and suggests a path to move beyond the type of work captured by the "automation as PTT" framework. An illustrative experiment shows how automation in training and PTT are actually separable issues. PTT with automation has some utility but ultimately remains an unsatisfactory framework for the future broad potential of automation during training, and we suggest that a new conceptualization is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-432
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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