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Kenneth R. Hammond (1917–2015) made several major contributions to the science of human judgment and decision making. As a student of Egon Brunswik, he kept Brunswik’s legacy alive – advancing his theory of probabilistic functionalism and championing his method of representative design. Hammond pioneered the use of Brunswik’s lens model as a framework for studying how individuals use information from the task environment to make clinical judgments, which was the precursor to much ‘policy capturing’ and ‘judgment analysis’ research. Hammond introduced the lens model equation to the study of judgment processes, and used this to measure the utility of different forms of feedback in multiple-cue probability learning. He extended the scope of analysis to contexts in which individuals interact with one another – introducing the interpersonal learning and interpersonal conflict paradigms. Hammond developed social judgment theory which provided a comprehensive quantitative approach for describing and improving judgment processes. He proposed cognitive continuum theory which states that quasi-rationality is an important middle-ground between intuition and analysis and that cognitive performance is dictated by the match between task properties and mode of cognition. Throughout his career, Hammond moved easily from basic laboratory work to applied settings, where he resolved policy disputes, and in doing so, he pointed to the dichotomy between theories of correspondence and coherence. In this paper, we present Hammond’s legacy to a new generation of judgment and decision making scholars.
Using Brunswik’s (1952) lens model framework, Hammond (1965) proposed interpersonal conflict theory to explain the nature, source, and resolution of disagreement or “cognitive conflict” between parties performing judgment tasks. An early review by Brehmer (1976) highlighted the potential of this approach in, for example, understanding the structure of cognitive conflicts, and the effect of task and person variables on judgment policy change and conflict resolution. However, our bibliographic and content reviews from 1976 to the present day demonstrate that research on cognitive conflict using the lens model has declined sharply, while research on “task conflict” has grown dramatically. There has also been a shift to less theoretical precision and methodological rigor. We discuss possible reasons for these developments, and suggest ways in which lens model research on cognitive conflict can be revitalized by borrowing from recent theoretical and methodological advances in the field of judgment and decision making.
In jurisdictions with two or more tiers of criminal courts, some defendants can choose the type of trial court to be tried in. This may involve a trade-off between the probability of acquittal/conviction and the estimated severity of sentence if convicted. For instance, in England and Wales, the lower courts have a higher conviction rate but limited sentencing powers, whereas the higher courts have a higher acquittal rate but greater sentencing powers. We examined 255 offenders’ choice of trial court type using a hypothetical scenario where innocence and guilt was manipulated. Participants’ choices were better predicted by a lexicographic than utility maximization model. A greater proportion of “guilty” participants chose the lower court compared to their “innocent” counterparts, and estimated sentence length was more important to the former than latter group. The present findings provide further support for heuristic decision-making in the criminal justice domain, and have implications for legal policy-making.
A routine part of intelligence analysis is judging the probability of alternative hypotheses given available evidence. Intelligence organizations advise analysts to use intelligence-tradecraft methods such as Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH) to improve judgment, but such methods have not been rigorously tested. We compared the evidence evaluation and judgment accuracy of a group of intelligence analysts who were recently trained in ACH and then used it on a probability judgment task to another group of analysts from the same cohort that were neither trained in ACH nor asked to use any specific method. Although the ACH group assessed information usefulness better than the control group, the control group was a little more accurate (and coherent) than the ACH group. Both groups, however, exhibited suboptimal judgment and were susceptible to unpacking effects. Although ACH failed to improve accuracy, we found that recalibration and aggregation methods substantially improved accuracy. Specifically, mean absolute error (MAE) in analysts’ probability judgments decreased by 61% after first coherentizing their judgments (a process that ensures judgments respect the unitarity axiom) and then aggregating their judgments. The findings cast doubt on the efficacy of ACH, and show the promise of statistical methods for boosting judgment quality in intelligence and other organizations that routinely produce expert judgments.
Understanding how people perceive the pros and cons of risky behaviors such as terrorism or violent extremism represents a first step in developing research testing rational choice theory aiming to explain and predict peoples’ intentions to engage in, or support, these behaviors. Accordingly, the present study provides a qualitative, exploratory analysis of a sample of 57 male youths’ perceptions of the benefits and drawbacks of: (a) accessing a violent extremist website, (b) joining a violent extremist group, and (c) leaving such a group. Youth perceived significantly more drawbacks than benefits of joining a violent extremist group (p = .001, d = .46) and accessing a violent extremist website (p = .001, d = .46). The perceived benefits of engagement referred to gaining knowledge/awareness, being part of a group/similar people, and fighting the enemy/for a cause. The drawbacks referred to being exposed to negative material and emotions, having violent/criminal beliefs and behaviors, and getting in trouble with the law. The perceived benefits of disengagement referred to no longer committing illegal acts, and regaining independence/not being manipulated. The drawbacks referred to exposing oneself to harm and reprisal. These findings provide an insight into how male youth think about (dis)engagement in violent extremism, and can inform future quantitative research designed to explain and predict (dis)engagement in violent extremism. Eventually, such research may inform the development of evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies.
We used an open-ended survey to elicit Spanish young adults' perceptions of the benefits and drawbacks of speeding and not wearing a seatbelt (or helmet).Around half of the sample reported past engagement in these two risky behaviors, although forecasted engagement was low. Past and forecasted risk taking were positively correlated. Participants provided more drawbacks than benefits of each risky behavior. Drawbacks typically referred to a combination of behavioral acts and social reactions (e.g., accident, punishment) that occurred during the journey. By contrast, benefits largely referred to personal effects (e.g., save time, comfort) that occurred after the journey had ended (speeding) or during the journey (not wearing a seatbelt/helmet). These findings contribute to our theoretical understanding of young adults' risk taking on the road, and to the development of road safety programs.
Introduction, Mandeep K. Dhami, Anne Schlottmann, and Michael R. Waldmann
In conclusion, rather than present a summary of the preceding chapters, we invited nine eminent past presidents of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making (SJDM) to provide personal perspectives on the concept of JDM as a dynamic skill. These scholars were not asked to comment on the chapters in this book, but rather to highlight their personal points of contact with the notion of JDM as a dynamic skill. The following perspectives offer historical accounts, and also point to future lines of research.
Shanteau describes how over the years he has highlighted the importance of training and skill acquisition in JDM, but feels “blue” that this view has not been more popular. Wallsten remembers the benefits of learning for JDM performance found in a study that he conducted 30 years ago, and confesses that he has only recently begun to revisit this important finding. Fischhoff points out that a sound understanding of the normative implications of tasks has laid a better foundation for the study of dynamically changing skills, especially in development. Levin and colleagues provide useful examples of their research on the developmental and neurological bases of JDM skills. Reyna highlights how her fuzzy trace theory taps into JDM processes that develop over time and experience, has neurological correlates, and may be evolutionarily adaptive. Baron reveals how he now finds himself in search of the developmental origins of the types of moral heuristics and biases that he has studied during his career. Hogarth shares three steps he has developed during decades of teaching decision making that can help people make better decisions. Klayman reveals that despite decades of studying learning and development of JDM, he still seeks a greater understanding of how decision makers “get that way.” Finally, Birnbaum points to the methodological factors that have limited our understanding of JDM as a skill, and presents a challenge for future researchers: to explain how and why JDM skills change. Overall, the following perspectives provide a rare glimpse of the personalized views of those who have made significant contributions to the field of human JDM.
This book presents a comprehensive review of both theories and research on the dynamic nature of human judgment and decision making (JDM). Leading researchers in the fields of JDM, cognitive development, human learning and neuroscience discuss short-term and long-term changes in JDM skills. The authors consider how such skills increase and decline on a developmental scale in children, adolescents and the elderly; how they may be learned; and how JDM skills can be improved and aided. In addition, beyond these behavioral approaches to understanding JDM as a skill, the book provides fascinating new insights from recent evolutionary and neuropsychological approaches. The authors identify opportunities for future research on the acquisition and changing nature of JDM. In a concluding chapter, eminent past presidents of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making provide personal reflections and perspectives on the notion of JDM as a dynamic skill.
Our scientific understanding of human judgment and decision making (JDM) has grown considerably over the past 60 years in terms of the normative benchmarks (or standards) by which we assess performance, the descriptive models we use to describe JDM, and the prescriptive solutions we offer to improve JDM. Indeed, policy and practice in several domains such as education, management, and medicine have benefited from the findings of JDM research. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the theoretical literature and empirical research has discussed human JDM with little reference to its changing or dynamic nature. This is partly due to the historical coincidence that the field of JDM developed in competition with static economic models, such as expected utility theory, and to limiting methodological commitments, such as investigating JDM in single-trial, cross-sectional studies with the primary focus on cognitively fully functioning adults. The contrast to economic models may also have contributed to the fact that the majority of studies have been restricted to collecting behavioral measures, and underweighted the evolutionary and neuropsycho-biological context of JDM. Thus, to date, we know relatively little about how JDM skills are acquired and change within their natural ecological contexts, and how this change is represented in the brain.
There are many important questions that simply cannot be fully answered by prominent, prevailing JDM theories and research methods. For instance, how do we make evolutionarily adaptive decisions? What are the similarities and differences in the decision-making abilities of young children, adolescents, and older adults? How do we learn to make good decisions? How can we improve or aid our decision making? Fortunately, there is an emerging body of work that is interested in long-term and short-term changes in JDM skills that can provide theoretically grounded and empirically supported answers to these questions. Pockets of research have begun to study skill acquisition on a developmental scale in children, adolescents, and the elderly. On an intermediate timeframe, there is research on the acquisition of expertise in JDM, and training and aiding of JDM. Researchers more interested in short-term changes have begun to study learning of JDM tasks. There is also an increasing body of recent work on the evolution and neuropsycho-biology of JDM which provides fascinating new perspectives on the adaptive underpinnings and neural substrates of JDM skills. For a coherent and comprehensive picture of the dynamic nature of JDM in humans these perspectives need to inform each other. Thus, this book brings together leading researchers in the fields of JDM, cognitive development, human learning, and neuroscience to present these emerging perspectives on JDM as a skill.