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Guest Speaker: "Training can improve decision making" Professor Carey Morewedge, Boston University

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Location: On-line Email for link

Speaker: Professor Carey Morewedge

Title: Training can improve decision making

Host: Dr Jesse Preston


Biases in judgment and decision making affect experts and novices alike, yet there is considerable variation in individual decision-making ability. To the extent that this variance reflects malleable differences, training interventions could be an effective and scalable way to debias and improve human reasoning. I report laboratory, longitudinal, and field experiments that find one-shot debiasing training interventions can substantively improve decision making by reducing trainees’ commission of cognitive biases. Participants in laboratory experiments (N = 1,076) received a single 30 to 90 minute training intervention that addressed three of six biases critical to intelligence analysis (i.e., anchoring, bias blind spot, confirmation bias, correspondence bias, representativeness, and social projection). Interventions ranged from instructional videos to serious games. Longitudinal experiments found medium to large immediate debiasing effects (games d ≥ 1.68; videos d ≥ .69) that persisted at least 2 months later (games d ≥ 1.11; videos d ≥ .66). In a field study where participants didn’t know their biases were measured (N = 290), training reduced confirmatory hypothesis testing by 29% in a complex business decision. Debiasing effects of training transferred across problems in different contexts and formats. The results provide exciting new evidence that training can improve decision making.

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