The complexity of information to be analyzed can increase rapidly and easily. For example, from calculations of combinations, there are 6 possible ways that 4 entities can relate to each other but there are 496 possible ways that 32 entities can relate to each other. The potential extent of complexity becomes apparent when one realizes that it is not uncommon for an analyst to address hundreds or thousands of entities. Since it has been well established that humans’ ability to process information is greatly constrained due to working memory limitations (Miller, 1956; Baddeley, 1986, 1996; Engle & Kane, 2004), complexity can be a significant analytical challenge. Of course, there are various other contributors to complexity—types of relationships, variability of conditions, and so on (Auprasert & Limpiyakorn, 2008). Moreover, some of the simplifying strategies that analysts might employ may lead to biased results, such as focusing on vivid, immediate cases rather than on more abstract, pallid statistical data that are often of much greater value.


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