Debiasing Training

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Training can effectively debias decisionmakers over the long term.

Training, to date, has received less attention by academics and policy makers than incentives and nudges because initial debiasing training efforts resulted in mixed success.

Decisionmakers could be effectively debiased through training in specific domains for example, experts can be trained to make very accurate decisions when recognizing patterns and applying appropriate responses in domains such as firefighting, chess, and weather forecasting. Evidence of more general debiasing, across domains and different kinds of problems, however, was not discovered until recently.

The reason for the lack of more domain-general debiasing was attributed to experts failing to recognize the underlying “deep structure” of problems in different formats and domains. Weather forecasters are able to predict rain with high accuracy, for example, but show the same overconfidence in their answers to basic trivia questions as other people. An exception was graduate training in scientific fields heavily reliant on statistics such as psychology.

Experiments have found interactive computer games and instructional videos can result in long-term debiasing at a general level. In a series of experiments, training with interactive computer games that provided players with personalized feedback, mitigating strategies, and practice, reduced six cognitive biases by more than 30% immediately and by more than 20% as long as three months later.

My BiasBuster training is an effective debiasing and bias education tool.