Effectively managing risk is crucial to successful engineering design. Formal methods offer strategies for making decisions under uncertainty and mitigating risk. However, insights from other fields such as cognitive science and behavioral economics suggest that decision-makers may exhibit behaviors in response to feedback which can undermine these strategies. This study presents results from an experiment in which participants were tasked with selecting a design factor of safety for four design prompts under objective risk conditions. Participants were randomly assigned to receive only negative or positive feedback after each decision. Results suggest that the type of feedback influenced the choice of factor of safety even though subjects were provided with the exact benefits and probabilities of all possible outcomes. This experiment suggests further study of the mechanisms by which engineering decision-makers incorporate feedback is necessary.

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