Psychology 280 March 27, 2008 Biases in Everyday and Professional Judgment "Many complain about their memory, few about their judgment." -- LaRochefoucauld I. Overconfidence — a powerful and pervasive bias of human judgment 1. Early studies on the “calibration” of confidence involving general knowledge questions. When people say they are 85% sure of their answers, they are right approximately 70% of the time. When they say they are certain of their answers, they are right about 85% of the time. 2. “Second generation” research on calibration revealed the same overconfidence in social judgments about others and about ourselves 3. With few exceptions (weather forecasters, for example), experts tend to be similarly miscalibrated. Consider Phil Tetlock’s research on political forecasters as an example. II. Common causes of overconfidence 1. naïve realism : we make forecasts about what will happen in the world we imagine in our heads, with insufficient allowance for the fact that what
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