The Difference Between Bias & Noise

24

Oct 2016

The Difference Between Bias & Noise

“When people consider errors in judgment and decision making, they most likely think of social biases like the stereotyping of minorities or of cognitive biases such as overconfidence and unfounded optimism. The useless variability that we call noise is a different type of error. To appreciate the distinction, think of your bathroom scale. We would say that the scale isbiased if its readings are generally either too high or too low. If your weight appears to depend on where you happen to place your feet, the scale is noisy. A scale that consistently underestimates true weight by exactly four pounds...

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Brexit, Trump and lessons for local elections

01

Aug 2016

Brexit, Trump and lessons for local elections

2016 is proving a contentious and important year for voting. From Brexit, to the US presidential race, to South Africa’s municipal elections just 3 days away, the democratic project is being put through its paces. As important as it is, from a behavioural perspective voting has some inherent weaknesses. There are many cognitive biases and heuristics – mental shortcuts – impeding our making the ‘right’ choice in elections. First and foremost, they require us to think – hard, rationally and comparatively – about a whole host of important, sizable issues that most of us don’t understand let alone engage with regularly....

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The power of the youth: young South Africans’ voting behaviour

27

Jul 2016

The power of the youth: young South Africans’ voting behaviour

No moment has made the importance of the youth vote more evident than the recent Brexit referendum. Millennials – those born between 1980 and 2000 – have surpassed the baby boomer numbers of our grandparents in many countries. Millennials worldwide are also the population group least likely to vote. According to the last polls done just before the Brexit referendum, 72% of 18-24 year olds were in favour of remaining in the European Union (EU). They are also the population who’ll be most effected by the decision to leave. There are 15 million millennials in the United Kingdom (UK). Only 34% voted in the referendum. It...

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Why Psychology’s replication crisis is good for business

14

Jul 2016

Why Psychology’s replication crisis is good for business

More and more these days, companies are turning to Psychology and the Behavioural Sciences for deeper insight into what makes the minds of their clients, employees and managers tick. There have been a host of reasons for this: an ever increasing amount of competition causing a shift to a more client-centric approach to business, the rise of big behavioural data, less trust in standard economic models, and, of course, the rise of behavioural economics, pulling all its intersecting fields up with it. While it has been encouraging to watch interest in findings from these fields grow over the last few...

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Test everything: Why being wrong is right.

14

Jul 2016

Test everything: Why being wrong is right.

Full reading time 8 min.  Bold reading time 1 min. In our competitive world it’s sometimes difficult to admit to ourselves that we are not the experts of the products and services that we design: our customers are. Sure, we know how these things work technically, we understand the maths behind them or all of the features that they have. What we don’t always know is how people use these things in the real world, how it makes them feel, and what they believe would make them better. That’s why we believe in testing everything! Whether it’s an idea, a...

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