Weak or no confidence in your predictions…

Posted on November 23, 2010

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Professor Wiggly: “If you have little or no confidence in your predictions  – no initial anchor – the model proposes that you rely automatically on simple decision-making aids – like flipping a coin. Because you have no vested interest or bias  in an initial position you don’t have to waste time and energy supporting it or defending it. Instead you rely on simple  rules. There’s research evidence that people with no  vested interest in a prediction automatically base their decisions on such simple rules, like ‘believing, or remembering,  the first thing they hear – a primacy rule, which becomes their anchor. Or some of us believe, or remember, the last thing we hear – a so-called recency rule,  which becomes a tempory  anchor – so we’re always changing our mind, nevertheless  we know what we belief at any given time.  Then there are those who don’t so much depend on the first or last  prediction they hear, but rather depend on a given source, a certain person or ‘expert’  – they follow the leader rule. Notice, all three of these rules are mentally cheap, they require little mental effort so provide low-cost, although fallible –  bridges for travelling into the future. I should point out that some experts focus on making decisions about the future. For example polsters – presumably start out without any bias or anchor about what the future will bring, but rather attach thier confidence – or bias – to methods of  mapping other people’ predictions or beliefs. Such prognostictors of the future include politicial polsters and of course people who predict the weather. They acknowlege the uncertainty of their predictions or bets by adding riders like: “this bet is accurate  within 5% nineteen times out of a hundred.”

Penny: ” So what’s the best way to make decision about the future?”

Professor Wiggly: ” Remember, my basic assumption is that the future remains uncertain – no matter what model you use to make predictions you’re going to make mistakes, but sometimes you’ll get lucky and quess right. But, if you buy this anchoring and adjustment model it provides some helpful hints.”

Penny : “So come on Professor, hint away.”

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Posted in: Sciencing