Bayesian methodology has been widely used in various research fields. According to current research, malfunctions of nuclear power plants can be detected using this Bayesian inference, which consistently piles up newly incoming data and updates the estimation. However, these studies have been based on the assumption that people work like computers perfectly a supposition that may cause a problem in real world applications. Studies in cognitive psychology indicate that when the amount of information to be processed becomes larger, people cannot save the whole set of data in their heads due to limited attention and limited memory capacity, also known as working memory. The purpose of the current research is to consider how actual human aware the situation contrasts with our expectations, and how such disparity affects the results of conventional Bayesian inference, if at all. We compared situation awareness (SA) of ideal operators with SA of human operators, and for the human operator we used both text-based human machine interface (HMI) and infographic-based HMI to ftirther compare two existing human operators. In addition, two different scenarios were selected how scenario complexity affects SA of human operators. As a results, when a malfunction occurred, the ideal operator found the malfunction nearly 100% probability of the time using Bayesian inference. In contrast, out of forty-six human operators, only 69.57% found the correct malfunction with simple scenario and 58.70% with complex scenario in the text-based HMI. In infographic-based HMI, however, 93.48% subjects found the correct malfunction with simple scenario and 84.78% found the correct malfunction with complex scenario. This paper shows the difference of SA between human operators and ideal operators. In addition, SA is affected by complexity of scenarios and design of HMI. It can provide useful insight in to enhancing human performance for securing the safe operator of nuclear power plants. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.