Recency Bias


The psychological effect of recency bias is a human mental phenomenon that occurs when the latest informative data updated to a person has a greater probability of being remembered than informative data given to the person much earlier than the latest updated information.

Human Factors Concerns

1) Information error may occur to personnel who have been performing a particular task repeatedly for a long period of time. For instance, flight crews or air traffic controllers (ATC), who have to be on operational duty for several hours without resting.

2) The probability of committing an error in conveying informative instruction increases when information of similar content is being conveyed to different individuals. For instance, instructional error may occur when ATC have been instructing two or more flights with similar call signs. On 2007, August 1, at Auckland International Airport, the flight crews of a Beech 1900 passenger aircraft erroneously accepted a take-off clearance instruction that was meant for another Beech 1900 passenger aircraft with a similar call sign. The call signs of both aircraft share the same structure (Eagle 979 and Eagle 171). Despite being distinctively different when spoken, they tend to look similarly confusing on the flight progress strips.

Prevention Efforts

1) Providing Frequent Rest Periods

2) Assigning Manageable Workload


EUROCONTROL. (2010). Recency Bias. Retrieved 11 September 2010, from

Transport Accident Investigation Commission. (2007, August 1). Report 07-005 incorporating occurrence 07-005 Raytheon 1900D, ZK-EAN and Saab-Scania SF340A, ZK-FXA critical runway incursion Auckland International Airport, 29 May 2007 and occurrence 07-009 Raytheon 1900D, ZK-EAH and Raytheon 1900D, ZK-EAG critical runway incursion Auckland International Airport, 1 August 2007. Retrieved 11 September 2010, from

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