How to improve individual decision-making

March 11th, 2009 - 5:58 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Mar 11 (ANI): Researchers at the University of Basel have designed a new technique that could assist individual decision-making.

Numerous studies have shown that a crowd of people usually gives more accurate responses to questions compared to a mere individual.

However, psychologists Stefan M. Herzog and Ralph Hertwig from the University of Basel wanted to know if individuals could come up with better answers using the new technique called dialectical bootstrapping.

Dialectical bootstrapping is a method by which an individual mind averages its” own conflicting opinions, thus simulating the wisdom of the crowd.

In other words, dialectical bootstrapping enables different opinions to be created and combined in the same mind.

For example, in this study, participants were asked to identify dates of various historical events. After they gave their initial answer, the participants were asked to think of reasons why the answer may be wrong and were then asked to come up with an alternative second (dialectical) answer.

The results reveal that the average of the participants” first answer with the second answer was much closer to the correct answer, compared to the original answers on their own.

Also, the dialectical bootstrapping method resulted in more accurate answers compared to simply making a second guess without considering why the first answer may be wrong.

These findings suggest that dialectical bootstrapping may be an effective strategy in helping us come up with better answers to many types of problems.

The study has been published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. (ANI)

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