The Role of Cognitive Capacity and Information Processing Preferences in Forecasting and Prediction Accuracy

Cory Adis

Advisor: Stephen Zaccaro, PhD, Department of Psychology

Committee Members: Eden King, James Thompson

Research Hall, #92
December 03, 2013, 02:00 PM to 11:00 AM


The cognitive process of forecasting is important for decision making, problem solving, and planning, but has been under researched in psychology. The present research looked at the relationship between the amount and detail of forecasts and the accuracy of predictions in a driving time prediction context. In addition, individual differences in working memory capacity and visual/ spatial information processing were examined for their impact on forecasting activity. The results indicated that forecasting detail, but not forecasting amount, was related to prediction accuracy, and this was moderated by participants’ task experience. Furthermore, working memory capacity interacted with object imagery usage to predict the amount of detail in participants’ forecasts. These results supported the hypotheses; however, the impact of working memory and object imagery was not transmitted to prediction accuracy, suggesting that the model was incomplete. Overall, the findings from this study contributed to the literature on forecasting by highlighting important factors in the forecasting process. Potential future directions were discussed.