A Conversation with Daniel Kahneman About “Noise” - By Evan Nesterak - Behavioral Scientist - Deepstash

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Noise is unwanted variability in judgments. Noise covers another way we make systematic errors in decision-making.


A Conversation with Daniel Kahneman About “Noise” - By Evan Nesterak - Behavioral Scientist

A Conversation with Daniel Kahneman About “Noise” - By Evan Nesterak - Behavioral Scientist



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Two types of error that influence decision-making

When it comes to accuracy in decision-making, there are two types of error:

  • Bias, which is an average error
  • Noise is the variability of error.

For example:

In a noisy system...

Bias vs noise

Bias in an average error. It is also a psychological mechanism that causes systematic errors in people's judgments. It explains why an individual will make one mistake over another.

Noise is the phenomenon of individual differences. It's variab...

Organisations can address noise with a "noise audit"

You can do a noise edit if you have several employees performing an interchangeable function, like different federal judges, doctors,  or different underwriters in an insurance company.

In a noise audit, people are given a realistic problem that they could encounter on their job. Then loo...

If you realise that there's more variability than you expected, you have several possibilities:

  • If the judgement is relatively simple, consider if you actually need human judgment or if you can replace judgment with some rule or algorithm. For example, the Apgar scor...

Decision hygiene is intended to reduce noise, but it is also applicable to single decisions where noise is invisible.

When facing a decision with multiple options, treat options like job candidates. Break up the problem and evaluate various aspects of the option, j...

Wherever there is judgment, there will be noise. When trying to reduce noise, you can expect some pushback as people perceive what is happening as limiting their options and as a bureaucratic infringement on their role.

Employees who are affected by this have to see this as something that h...

Situations where noise reduction doesn't apply

Reducing noise is primarily for organizations that make judgments and decisions, and it wants to do that with one voice. Noise is unwanted variability.

In many other situations, diversity is actually interesting and valuable, for example, film reviewers and creative process...



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