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How To Cut Through The 'Noise' That Hinders Human Judgment

Pro-Trump protesters yell as they look through the windows of the central counting board as police were helping to keep others from entering due to overcrowding on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Detroit. (Carlos Osorio/AP)
Pro-Trump protesters yell as they look through the windows of the central counting board as police were helping to keep others from entering due to overcrowding on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Detroit. (Carlos Osorio/AP)

If you consult three doctors and get three different opinions, that’s an example of what Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman and his colleagues call “noise.” How do you decide what to do when professionals don’t agree? We’ll cut through the noise and exploring human judgment.  

Guests

Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize-winning psychologist. Co-author of “Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment.” (@kahneman_daniel)

Olivier Sibony, professor of strategy and business policy at HEC Paris. Co-author of “Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment.” (@SibOliv)

Book Excerpt

Excerpt from “Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment” by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass R. Sunstein. Copyright © 2021 by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass R. Sunstein. Reprinted with permission of Little, Brown & Company.

From The Reading List

The Conversation: “Daniel Kahneman on ‘noise’ – the flaw in human judgement harder to detect than cognitive bias” — “Imagine two doctors presented with identical information about the same patient giving very different diagnoses. Now imagine the reason for the difference is because the doctors have made their diagnosis in the morning or afternoon, or at the beginning or the end of the week.”

Wall Street Journal: “Good Moods Often Lead to Bad Judgments” — “We’ve all noticed that our own judgments can depend on how we feel—and we are certainly aware that the judgments of others vary with their moods, too.”

New York Times: “Bias Is a Big Problem. But So Is ‘Noise.’” — “The word ‘bias’ commonly appears in conversations about mistaken judgments and unfortunate decisions. We use it when there is discrimination, for instance against women or in favor of Ivy League graduates.”

The Guardian: “Daniel Kahneman: ‘Clearly AI is going to win. How people are going to adjust is a fascinating problem’” — “Daniel Kahneman, 87, was awarded the Nobel prize in economics in 2002 for his work on the psychology of judgment and decision-making.”

Washington Post: “How to turn down the noise that mars our decision-making” — “A friend of mine was suffering such severe back pain that it was difficult for him to walk or stand. He consulted three doctors about the best course of treatment.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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