Have We Been Ignoring the Biggest Flaw in Human Judgment? - Deepstash

Daniel Kahneman is notable for his work on biases in human judgement that affects everyday life for all of us.

For example, courtroom judges exercise judgmental biases when one judge is more lenient than another. Business people make judgments whether a candidate is more qualified than another candidate. Bankers judge who will get a loan.

Kahneman argues that judgmental biases are only part of the problem. The other is that judgments are often noisy. Ask ten different judges to suggest a sentence, and you'll get ten different answers.

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Differentiating between bias and noise

Imagine four different targets - each shot by eight guns.

  • Target 1 has eight holes closest to the bullseye - showing low bias and low noise.
  • Target 2 has eight holes close together but above the bullseye - demonstrating high bias but low noise.
  • Target 3 has eight holes widely distributed around the bullseye, showing low bias and high noise.
  • Target 4 has eight holes widely distributes, showing high noise and bias. 

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  • Individual differences, such as the tendency to judge targets roughly or harshly.
  • Using vague or imprecise judgement scales.
  • Random variation in the order judges views evidence.

How to reduce noise:

  • Apply a uniform set of decision rules, leaving no room for subjectivity.
  • Different members of a team should judge different dimensions individually.
  • Judges should first write down their evaluation before any discussion.
  • Use ranking to make relative judgments instead of a scale where everyone can be rated the same.

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