The psychology of expert predictions

This week’s edition of BBC Radio 4 All in the Mind has a fantastic section on the psychology of knowledgeable predictions that bursts lots of bubbles about the power of experts but also discusses how to make more accurate predictions.

You can listen to the whole programme online but it seems the crucial section has accidentally found it’s way onto YouTube which you can catch here.

The discussion is with author Dan Gardner and by psychologist Dylan Evans who tackle the links between risk, prediction and knowledge.

It has lots of fascinating insights, including the fact that the fame of experts is inversely related to their accuracy, that US weather forecasters are better than UK forecasters (and not because UK weather is more difficult), and that more confident predictions are more likely to be wrong.

If you want to catch the whole of All in the Mind the section of grief myths is also wonderful.

Link to All in the Mind.
Link to section on expert predictions.

3 thoughts on “The psychology of expert predictions”

  1. Google “The Fourth Turning”, 1997, C-SPAN on
    You Tube. You will hear the authors in 1997 talking “future” economic problems including
    the economic meltdown with uncanny precision.
    It’s like they are on a 2011 talk show.
    “Well, they talk in generalities…”
    There is nothing clairvoyant about their
    methods and it has a demographics for dummies
    quality about it but it is amazing.

    Imagine using intelligent agent DOD software?
    Imagine that political parties,corporations,
    nations use predictive algorithms to force
    their opposition into corners.

    When Obama went on 60 Minutes after being
    elected he talked about being a good one
    term president. Why? B/c the problems he
    faced, 2 unfunded wars, depression economics
    were probably too much to overcome in 4 years.
    Do you think it just happened that way?
    Do you think he was just being humble after
    his victory? Read “Angler” about Dick Cheney
    and think again.

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