March 07, 2011

Journey carries onů time to make decisions and are we really so bad?

What an eye opening first day in robust decision making. I thought I am quite open minded when it comes to the term of judging people and things. With regard to my past I would say I really improved. So how bad I performed years ago?? The decisions must have been horrible. ;)

Anyway very good entrance into the world of self awareness, thinking about how judging things adn building up on this decisions. Judging always has something to do with personal beliefs experiences and thus bias. But noticing that it has this dimension is quite scaring. Are we so influenced while making decisions? I say yes the extend in which other aspects influence our way of judging is tremendous. Best example is the group influence. Seeing this video today about the challenger crash really showed how it is in a company and this is not appropriate. I have seen it very often. At the beginning everyone is moaning, etc. but when it comes to stand up in front of a group and disagree the courage and brave is not high enough. That easily leads me to the conclusion that it is vital to say what is to say and to stand up for the own concerns. Because even if it is not a space-shuttle you are responsible for, especially in the manufacturing sector wrong decisions can harm people and how do you want to live when you know just because you were not brave enough…

One thing I would like to mention is the little test we made today. It was about making unbiased judges with mostly one correct given answer. At the most times I agreed with the answers having thought in more depth about it, but the question about getting a fourth girl in a row or a boy did not convinced me. I think you cannot really justify that. This example shows that there are so many influences affecting this probability that you cannot just say that the chance is 50/50. 

Nonetheless great module and looking forward to the coming days…


- 5 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Absolutely agree regarding the fourth child experiment, Jeff’s explanation didn’t convince me either. I have seen the studies that show that if you have three children of the same sex, the probability of the 4th being the same is not 50:50. It would almost certainly be true over a wide population, but for one specific person, you cannot know… Even if you make the argument that the problem doesn’t know the father’s history, we, as the people giving our estimate of probability do know this. It’s not that our judgement is clouded, simply that we have more relevant information… It was probably the only hole that I could pick though, the rest of the exercise was very illuminating.

    09 Mar 2011, 12:32

  2. Jeff Jones

    Have a look at http://www.in-gender.com/XYU/Odds/Gender_Odds.aspx

    10 Mar 2011, 23:24

  3. Jeff Jones

    and this one http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12140065

    10 Mar 2011, 23:28

  4. Thank you very much Jeffrey, including this roughly 50/50 statement in the test during the class is a good example for a robust decision. Also the wording of the statement considers the slight variation given in the links by using the word roughly. So at the end totally solid and nothing to add form my side, cheers…

    11 Mar 2011, 00:52

  5. Thanks for the links Jeff. But, surely the conclusion of the first one is that if you have had three children of the same sex, the chances of the fourth being the same or different are not necessarily 50:50, but could be as much as 6% different. I realise we’re now getting away from the original point of bias with the representative heuristic, but still… It’s not quite like the coin toss example, because there are a lot of other factors at play, not just random chance.

    Although it seems the wording of the original question was a little looser than I thought on first read, according to the results of the In-Gender study, the answer to question 6 would be 47.3%, i.e. the last option (between 6.25% and 50%)? I’m afraid we’ll have to agree to disagree. ;-)

    11 Mar 2011, 18:52


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