Monday, February 25, 2008

Simple Heuristics that make us smart

Just back from holiday. Managed to finish Gigerenzer and Todd's "Simple Heuristics That make us smart", an interesting idea in a long book. Basiclly they list a number of simple ways in which people make decisions and demonstrate that the simple methods can be as accurate, or in some cases, more accurate than sophisticated statistical techniques.

Now if one could work out which people use when rating videos...

As an aside - In the UK a woman called Sally Clark was convicted of killing her children based on a completely false understanding of probabilities and none of the Judge, defending lawyers, prosecution lawyers or expert witnesses picked up on the gross misunderstandings that occured. She is now dead - undoubtly as a result of the miscarriage of justice. - A 'must read' is Gigerenzer's "Reckoning with Risk". Gigerenzer provides an extremely clear introduction to the mistakes that people make (primarily doctors and lawyers) and suggests ways of presenting evidence to make sure errors don't occur. If I'm ever in front of a doctor or a judge I'm going to make sure I assess my own probabilities or give them a copy of his book.

1 comment:

jacob said...

I am very impressed by your learned abilities. I like you try things that others may think are out of my reach. The article in Wired was very inspiring. i even blogged about it. Very cool!