Toward Supporting Perceptual Complementarity in Human-AI Collaboration via Reflection on Unobservables

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In many real world contexts, successful human-AI collaboration requires humans to productively integrate complementary sources of information into AI-informed decisions. However, in practice human decision-makers often lack understanding of what information an AI model has access to in relation to themselves. There are few available guidelines regarding how to effectively communicate about unobservables: features that may influence the outcome, but which are unavailable to the model. In this work, we conducted an online experiment to understand whether and how explicitly communicating potentially relevant unobservables influences how people integrate model outputs and unobservables when making predictions. Our findings indicate that presenting prompts about unobservables can change how humans integrate model outputs and unobservables, but do not necessarily lead to improved performance. Furthermore, the impacts of these prompts can vary depending on decision-makers’ prior domain expertise. We conclude by discussing implications for future research and design of AI-based decision support tools.