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Conditions for Intuitive Expertise A Failure to Disagree

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This article reports on an effort to explore the differences between two approaches to intuition and expertise that are often viewed as conflicting: heuristics and biases (HB) and naturalistic decision making (NDM). Starting from the obvious fact that professional intuition is sometimes marvelous and sometimes flawed, the authors attempt to map the boundary conditions that separate true intuitive skill from overconfident and biased impressions. They conclude that evaluating the likely quality of an intuitive judgment requires an assessment of the predictability of the environment in which the judgment is made and of the individual's opportunity to learn the regularities of that environment. Subjective experience is not a reliable indicator of judgment accuracy.
Conditions for Intuitive Expertise
A Failure to Disagree
Daniel Kahneman Princeton University
Gary Klein Applied Research Associates
This article reports on an effort to explore the differences
between two approaches to intuition and expertise that are
often viewed as conflicting: heuristics and biases (HB) and
naturalistic decision making (NDM). Starting from the
obvious fact that professional intuition is sometimes mar-
velous and sometimes flawed, the authors attempt to map
the boundary conditions that separate true intuitive skill
from overconfident and biased impressions. They conclude
that evaluating the likely quality of an intuitive judgment
requires an assessment of the predictability of the environ-
ment in which the judgment is made and of the individual’s
opportunity to learn the regularities of that environment.
Subjective experience is not a reliable indicator of judg-
ment accuracy.
Keywords: intuition, expertise, overconfidence, heuristics,
In this article we report on an effort to compare our
views on the issues of intuition and expertise and to
discuss the evidence for our respective positions. When
we launched this project, we expected to disagree on many
issues, and with good reason: One of us (GK) has spent
much of his career thinking about ways to promote reliance
on expert intuition in executive decision making and iden-
tifies himself as a member of the intellectual community of
scholars and practitioners who study naturalistic decision
making (NDM). The other (DK) has spent much of his
career running experiments in which intuitive judgment
was commonly found to be flawed; he is identified with the
“heuristics and biases” (HB) approach to the field.
A surprise awaited us when we got together to con-
sider our joint field of interest. We found ourselves agree-
ing most of the time. Where we initially disagreed, we were
usually able to converge upon a common position. Our
shared beliefs are much more specific than the common-
place that expert intuition is sometimes remarkably accu-
rate and sometimes off the mark. We accept the common-
place, of course, but we also have similar opinions about
more specific questions: What are the activities in which
skilled intuitive judgment develops with experience? What
are the activities in which experience is more likely to
produce overconfidence than genuine skill? Because we
largely agree about the answers to these questions we also
favor generally similar recommendations to organizations
seeking to improve the quality of judgments and decisions.
In spite of all this agreement, however, we find that we are
still separated in many ways: by divergent attitudes, pref-
erences about facts, and feelings about fighting words such
as “bias.” If we are to understand the differences between
our respective communities, such emotions must be taken
into account.
We begin with a brief review of the origins and
precursors of the NDM and HB approaches, followed by a
discussion of the most prominent points of contrast be-
tween them (NDM: Klein, Orasanu, Calderwood, & Zsam-
bok, 1993; HB: Gilovich, Griffin, & Kahneman, 2002;
Tversky & Kahneman, 1974). Next we present some claims
about the conditions under which skilled intuitions de-
velop, followed by several suggestions for ways to improve
the quality of judgments and choices.
Two Perspectives
Origins of the Naturalistic Decision
Making Approach
The NDM approach, which focuses on the successes
of expert intuition, grew out of early research on master
chess players conducted by deGroot (1946/1978) and later
by Chase and Simon (1973). DeGroot showed that chess
grand masters were generally able to identify the most
promising moves rapidly, while mediocre chess players
often did not even consider the best moves. The chess
grand masters mainly differed from weaker players in their
unusual ability to appreciate the dynamics of complex
positions and quickly judge a line of play as promising or
fruitless. Chase and Simon (1973) described the perfor-
mance of chess experts as a form of perceptual skill in
which complex patterns are recognized. They estimated
that chess masters acquire a repertoire of 50,000 to 100,000
immediately recognizable patterns, and that this repertoire
enables them to identify a good move without having to
calculate all possible contingencies. Strong players need a
decade of serious play to assemble this large collection of
basic patterns, but of course they achieve impressive levels
Daniel Kahneman, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International
Affairs, Princeton University; Gary Klein, Applied Research Associates,
Fairborn, Ohio.
We thank Craig Fox, Robin Hogarth, and James Shanteau for their
helpful comments on earlier versions of this article.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Daniel
Kahneman, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs,
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544-0001. E-mail: kahneman@
515September 2009 American Psychologist
© 2009 American Psychological Association 0003-066X/09/$12.00
Vol. 64, No. 6, 515–526 DOI: 10.1037/a0016755
of skill even earlier. On the basis of this work, Simon
defined intuition as the recognition of patterns stored in
The early work that led to the approach that is now
called NDM was an attempt to describe and analyze the
decision making of commanders of firefighting companies.
Fireground commanders are required to make decisions
under conditions of uncertainty and time pressure that
preclude any orderly effort to generate and evaluate sets of
options. Klein, Calderwood, and Clinton-Cirocco (1986)
investigated how the commanders could make good deci-
sions without comparing options. The initial hypothesis
was that commanders would restrict their analysis to only
a pair of options, but that hypothesis proved to be incorrect.
In fact, the commanders usually generated only a single
option, and that was all they needed. They could draw on
the repertoire of patterns that they had compiled during
more than a decade of both real and virtual experience to
identify a plausible option, which they considered first.
They evaluated this option by mentally simulating it to see
if it would work in the situation they were facing—a
process that deGroot (1946/1978) had described as progres-
sive deepening. If the course of action they were consid-
ering seemed appropriate, they would implement it. If it
had shortcomings, they would modify it. If they could not
easily modify it, they would turn to the next most plausible
option and run through the same procedure until an accept-
able course of action was found. This recognition-primed
decision (RPD) strategy was effective because it took ad-
vantage of the commanders’ tacit knowledge (Klein et al.,
1986). The fireground commanders were able to draw on
their repertoires to anticipate how flames were likely to
spread through a building, to notice signs that a house was
likely to collapse, to judge when to call for additional
support, and to make many other critical decisions. The
RPD model is consistent with the work of deGroot (1946/
1978) and Simon (1992) and has been replicated in multi-
ple domains, including system design, military command
and control, and management of offshore oil installations
(see Klein, 1998, for a review). In each of these domains,
the RPD model offers a generally encouraging picture of
expert performance. It would be a caricature of the NDM
approach, however, to describe it as being solely dedicated
to praising expertise. NDM researchers have also tried to
document and analyze failures in the performance of ex-
perts (Cannon-Bowers & Salas, 1998; Klein, 1998; Woods,
O’Brien, & Hanes, 1987). In fact, the NDM movement was
crystallized by an event that resulted from a catastrophic
failure in expert decision making.
In 1988, an international tragedy occurred after the
USS Vincennes accidentally shot down an Iranian Airbus
(Fogarty, 1988). The USS Vincennes was an Aegis cruiser,
one of the most technologically advanced systems in the
Navy inventory, but the technology was not sufficient to
stave off the disaster. The incident has been the subject of
detailed investigation by NDM researchers (Collyer &
Malecki, 1998; Klein, 1998). As a result of the disastrous
error and subsequent political fallout, the U.S. Navy de-
cided to initiate a program of research on decision making,
the Tactical Decision Making Under Stress (TADMUS)
program (Cannon-Bowers & Salas, 1998).
Thus it was that in 1989 a group of 30 researchers who
studied decision making in natural settings met for several
days in an effort to find commonalities between the deci-
sion-making processes of firefighters, nuclear power plant
controllers, Navy officers, Army officers, highway engi-
neers, and other populations. Several researchers from the
judgment and decision making tradition participated in this
meeting and in the preparation of a book describing the
NDM perspective (Klein et al., 1993). Lipshitz (1993)
identified several decision-making models that were devel-
oped to describe the strategies used in field settings, in-
cluding the recognition-primed decision model (Klein,
1993), the cognitive continuum model (Hammond, Hamm,
Grassia, & Pearson, 1987), image theory (Beach, 1990), the
search for dominance structures (Montgomery, 1993), and
the skills/rules/knowledge framework and decision ladder
(Rasmussen, 1986). The NDM movement that emerged
from this meeting focuses on field studies of subject-matter
experts who make decisions under complex conditions.
These experts are expected to successfully attain vaguely
defined goals in the face of uncertainty, time pressure, high
stakes, team and organizational constraints, shifting condi-
tions, and action feedback loops that enable people to
manage disturbances while trying to diagnose them
(Orasanu & Connolly, 1993).
A central goal of NDM is to demystify intuition by
identifying the cues that experts use to make their judg-
ments, even if those cues involve tacit knowledge and are
difficult for the expert to articulate. In this way, NDM
researchers try to learn from expert professionals. Many
NDM researchers use cognitive task analysis (CTA) meth-
ods to investigate the cues and strategies that skilled deci-
516 September 2009 American Psychologist
sion makers apply (Crandall, Klein, & Hoffman, 2006;
Schraagen, Chipman, & Shalin, 2000). CTA methods are
semi-structured interview techniques that elicit the cues
and contextual considerations influencing judgments and
decisions. Researchers cannot expect decision makers to
accurately explain why they made decisions (Nisbett &
Wilson, 1977); CTA methods provide a basis for making
inferences about the judgment and decision process. For
example, Crandall and Getchell-Reiter (1993) studied
nurses in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) who could
detect infants developing life-threatening infections even
before blood tests came back positive. When asked, the
nurses were at first unable to describe how they made their
judgments. The researchers used CTA methods to probe
specific incidents and identified a range of cues and pat-
terns, some of which had not yet appeared in the nursing or
medical literature. A few of these cues were opposite to the
indicators of infection in adults. Crandall and Gamblian
(1991) extended the NICU work. They confirmed the find-
ings with nurses from a different hospital and then created
an instructional program to help new NICU nurses learn
how to identify the early signs of sepsis in neonates. That
program has been widely disseminated throughout the
nursing community.
Origins of the Heuristics and Biases Approach
In sharp contrast to NDM, the HB approach favors a
skeptical attitude toward expertise and expert judgment.
The origins of this attitude can be traced to a famous
monograph published by Paul Meehl in 1954. Meehl
(1954) reviewed approximately 20 studies that compared
the accuracy of forecasts made by human judges (mostly
clinical psychologists) and those predicted by simple sta-
tistical models. The criteria in the studies that Meehl (1954)
discussed were diverse, with outcome measures ranging
from academic success to patient recidivism and propensity
for violence. Although the algorithms were based on a
subset of the information available to the clinicians, statis-
tical predictions were more accurate than human predic-
tions in almost every case. Meehl (1954) believed that the
inferiority of clinical judgment was due in part to system-
atic errors, such as the consistent neglect of the base rates
of outcomes in discussion of individual cases. In a well-
known article, he later explained his reluctance to attend
clinical conferences by citing his annoyance with the cli-
nicians’ uncritical reliance on their intuition and their fail-
ure to apply elementary statistical reasoning (Meehl, 1973).
Inconsistency is a major weakness of informal judg-
ment: When presented with the same case information on
separate occasions, human judges often reach different
conclusions. Goldberg (1970) reported a “bootstrapping
effect,” which provides the most dramatic illustration of the
effect of inconsistency on the validity of judgments. Gold-
berg required a group of 29 clinicians to make diagnostic
judgments (psychotic vs. neurotic) in a set of cases, based
on personality test profiles of 861 patients who had been
independently assigned to one of these categories. He con-
structed an individual model of the predictions of each
judge— using multiple regression to estimate the weights
that the judge assigned to each of the 11 scales in the
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. Judges were
then required to make predictions for a new set of cases;
Goldberg also used the individual statistical model of each
judge to generate a prediction for these new cases. The
bootstrap models were almost always more accurate than
the judges they modeled. The only plausible explanation of
this remarkable result is that human judgments are noisy to
an extent that substantially impairs their validity. In an
extensive meta-analysis of judgment studies using the lens
model, Karelaia and Hogarth (2008) reported strong sup-
port for the generality of the bootstrap effect and for the
crucial importance of lack of consistency in explaining this
Kahneman read Meehl’s book in 1955 while serving
in the Psychological Research Unit of the Israel Defense
Forces, and the book helped him make sense of his own
encounters with the difficulties of clinical judgment. One of
Kahneman’s duties was to assess candidates for officer
training, using field tests and other observations as well as
a personal interview. Kahneman (2003) described the pow-
erful sense of getting to know each candidate and the
accompanying conviction that he could foretell how well
the candidate would do in further training and eventually in
combat. The subjective conviction of understanding each
case in isolation was not diminished by the statistical
feedback from officer training school, which indicated that
the validity of the assessments was negligible. Kahneman
coined the term illusion of validity for the unjustified sense
of confidence that often comes with clinical judgment. His
early experience with the fallibility of intuitive impressions
could hardly be more different from Klein’s formative
encounter with the successful decision making of fire-
ground commanders.
Gary Klein
517September 2009 American Psychologist
The first study in the HB tradition was conducted in
1969 (Tversky & Kahneman, 1971). It described perfor-
mance in a task that researchers often perform without
recourse to computation: choosing the number of cases for
a psychological experiment. The participants in the study
were sophisticated methodologists and statisticians, includ-
ing two authors of statistics textbooks. They answered
realistic questions about the sample size they considered
appropriate in different situations. The conclusion of the
study was that sophisticated scientists reached incorrect
conclusions and made inferior choices when they followed
their intuitions, failing to apply rules with which they were
certainly familiar. The article offered a strongly worded
recommendation that researchers faced with the task of
choosing a sample size should forsake intuition in favor of
computation. This initial study of professionals reinforced
Tversky and Kahneman (1971) in their belief (originally
based on introspection) that faulty statistical intuitions sur-
vive both formal training and actual experience. Many
studies in the intervening decades have confirmed the per-
sistence of a diverse set of intuitive errors in the judgments
of some professionals.
Contrasts Between the Naturalistic
Decision Making and Heuristics
and Biases Approaches
The intellectual traditions that we have traced to deGroot’s
(1946/1978) studies of chess masters (NDM) and to Meehl’s
(1954) research on clinicians (HB) are alive and well today.
They are reflected in the approaches of our respective intel-
lectual communities. In this section we consider three impor-
tant contrasts between the two approaches: the stance taken by
the NDM and HB researchers toward expert judgment, the use
of field versus laboratory settings for decision-making re-
search, and the application of different standards of perfor-
mance, which leads to different conclusions about expertise.
Stance Regarding Expertise and
Decision Algorithms
There is no logical inconsistency between the observations
that inspired the NDM and HB approaches to professional
judgment: The intuitive judgments of some professionals
are impressively skilled, while the judgments of other
professionals are remarkably flawed. Although not contra-
dictory, these core observations suggest conflicting gener-
alizations about the utility of expert judgment. Members of
the HB community are of course aware of the existence of
skill and expertise, but they tend to focus on flaws in
human cognitive performance. Members of the NDM com-
munity know that professionals often err, but they tend to
stress the marvels of successful expert performance.
The basic stance of HB researchers, as they consider
experts, is one of skepticism. They are trained to look for
opportunities to compare expert performance with perfor-
mance by formal models or rules and to expect that experts
will do poorly in such comparisons. They are predisposed
to recommend the replacement of informal judgment by
algorithms whenever possible. Researchers in the NDM
tradition are more likely to adopt an admiring stance to-
ward experts. They are trained to explore the thinking of
experts, hoping to identify critical features of the situation
that are obvious to experts but invisible to novices and
journeymen, and then to search for ways to pass on the
experts’ secrets to others in the field. NDM researchers are
disposed to have little faith in formal approaches because
they are generally skeptical about attempts to impose uni-
versal structures and rules on judgments and choices that
will be made in complex contexts.
We found that the sharpest differences between the
two of us were emotional rather than intellectual. Although
DK is thrilled by the remarkable intuitive skills of experts
that GK and others have described, he also takes consid-
erable pleasure in demonstrations of human folly and in the
comeuppance of overconfident pseudo-experts. For his
part, GK recognizes that formal procedures and algorithms
sometimes outdo human judgment, but he enjoys hearing
about cases in which the bureaucratization of decision
making fails. Further, the nonoverlapping sets of col-
leagues with whom we interact generally share our atti-
tudes and reinforce our differences. Nevertheless, as this
article shows, we agree on most of the issues that matter.
Field Versus Laboratory
There is an obvious difference in the primary form of research
conducted by the respective research communities. The mem-
bers of the HB community are mostly based in academic
departments, and they tend to favor well-controlled experi-
ments in the laboratory. The members of the NDM commu-
nity are typically practitioners who operate in “real-world”
organizations. They have a natural sympathy for the ecolog-
ical approach, first popularized in the late 1970s, which ques-
tions the relevance of laboratory experiments to real-world
situations. NDM researchers use methods such as cognitive
task analysis and field observation to investigate judgments
and decision making under complex conditions that would be
difficult to recreate in the laboratory.
There is no logically necessary connection between these
methodological choices and the nature of the hypotheses and
models being tested. As the examples of the preceding section
illustrate, the view that heuristics and biases are only studied
and found in the laboratory is a caricature.
Similarly, the
RPD model could have emerged from the laboratory, and it
has been tested there (Johnson & Raab, 2003; Klein, Wolf,
Militello, & Zsambok, 1995). In addition, a number of NDM
researchers have reported studies of the performance of pro-
ficient decision makers in realistically simulated environments
(e.g., Smith, Giffin, Rockwell, & Thomas, 1986).
Among many other examples, see Slovic (2000) for applications to
the study of responses to risk; Guthrie, Rachlinski, and Wistrich (2007)
and Sunstein (2000) for applications in the legal domain; Croskerry and
Norman (2008) for medical judgment; Bazerman (2005) for managerial
judgments and decision making; and Kahneman and Renshon (2007) for
political decision making. The collection assembled by Gilovich, Griffin,
and Kahneman (2002) includes other examples.
518 September 2009 American Psychologist
The Definition of Expertise
NDM researchers cannot use the same kinds of optimality
criteria as the HB community to define expertise. In rare
cases (e.g., the ratings of chess players based on their
record of wins and losses against other rated players) the
performance level of experts is determined using standard-
ized measures. However, in most of the situations studied
by NDM researchers, the criteria for judging expertise are
based on a history of successful outcomes rather than on
quantitative performance measures. The most common
method for defining expertise in NDM research is to rely on
peer judgments. The conditions for defining expertise are
the existence of a consensus and evidence that the consen-
sus reflects aspects of successful performance that are
objective even if they are not quantified explicitly. If the
performance of different professionals can be compared,
the best practitioners define the standard. As Shanteau
(1992) suggested, “Experts are operationally defined as
those who have been recognized within their profession as
having the necessary skills and abilities to perform at the
highest level” (p. 255). For example, captains of firefight-
ing companies are evaluated not only by their ability to
extinguish fires, but also by other criteria, such as the
amount of damage created before the fire is controlled.
When colleagues say, “If Person X had been there instead
of Person Y, the fire would not have spread as far,” then
Person X counts as an expert within that organization. The
use of peer judgments can distinguish highly competent
decision makers from mediocre ones who may have the
same amount of experience and from novices who have
little experience. This level of differentiation is sufficient
for most NDM studies.
In several of the studies that Meehl (1954) reviewed,
the quality of expert performance was evaluated by com-
paring the accuracy of decisions made by experts with the
accuracy of optimal linear combinations. If the predictions
generated by a linear combination of a few variables are
more accurate (in a new sample) than those of a profes-
sional who has access to the same information, the perfor-
mance of the professional is certainly suboptimal. Note that
the optimality criterion is significantly more demanding
than the criteria by which expertise is evaluated in NDM
research. NDM researchers compare the performance of
professionals with that of the most successful experts in
their field, whereas HB researchers prefer to compare the
judgments of professionals with the outcome of a model
that makes the best possible use of available information. It
is entirely possible for the predictions of experienced cli-
nicians to be superior to those of novices but inferior to a
linear model or an intelligent system.
Sources of Intuition
The judgments and decisions that we are most likely to call
intuitive come to mind on their own, without explicit
awareness of the evoking cues and of course without an
explicit evaluation of the validity of these cues. The fire-
fighter feels that the house is very dangerous, the nurse
feels that an infant is ill, and the chess master immediately
sees a promising move. Intuitive skills are not restricted to
professionals: Anyone can recognize tension or fatigue in a
familiar voice on the phone. In the language of the two-
system (or dual process) models that have recently become
popular (Evans & Frankish, 2009; see Evans, 2007, for a
review of the origins of these ideas), intuitive judgments
are produced by “System 1 operations,” which are auto-
matic, involuntary, and almost effortless. In contrast, the
deliberate activities of System 2 are controlled, voluntary,
and effortful—they impose demands on limited attentional
resources. System 2 is involved, for example, when one
performs a calculation (17 !24 "?), completes a tax
form, reads a map, makes a left turn into heavy traffic, or
parks in a narrow space. Self-monitoring is also a System
2 operation, which is impaired by concurrent effortful
The distinction between Systems 1 and 2 plays an
important role in both the HB and NDM approaches. In the
RPD model, for example, the performance of experts in-
volves both an automatic process that brings promising
solutions to mind and a deliberate activity in which the
execution of the candidate solution is mentally simulated in
a process of progressive deepening. In the HB approach,
System 2 is involved in the effortful performance of some
reasoning and decision-making tasks as well as in the
continuous monitoring of the quality of reasoning. When
there are cues that an intuitive judgment could be wrong,
System 2 can impose a different strategy, replacing intu-
ition by careful reasoning.
The NDM and HB approaches share the assumption
that intuitive judgments and preferences have the charac-
teristics of System 1 activity: They are automatic, arise
effortlessly, and often come to mind without immediate
justification. However, the two approaches focus on differ-
ent classes of intuition. Intuitive judgments that arise from
experience and manifest skill are the province of NDM,
which explores the cues that guided such judgments and the
conditions for the acquisition of skill. In contrast, HB
researchers have been mainly concerned with intuitive
judgments that arise from simplifying heuristics, not from
specific experience. These intuitive judgments are less
likely to be accurate and are prone to systematic biases.
We discuss the two classes of judgment in sequence.
First, we describe the process of skill acquisition that
supports the intuitive judgments and preferences of genuine
experts. In particular, we explore two necessary conditions
for the development of skill: high-validity environments
and an adequate opportunity to learn them. Next, we dis-
cuss heuristic-based intuitions and some of the biases to
which they are prone. Finally, we address the question of
the critique of intuition: How can skilled intuitions be
distinguished from heuristic-based intuitions?
The contrast between System 1 and System 2 has given rise to its
own literature. For example, J. St. B. T. Evans (2007) has asserted that
System 1 is affected by the tendency to contextualize problems in the light
of prior knowledge and belief and that System 2 is affected by the
tendency to satisfice without considering alternatives.
519September 2009 American Psychologist
Skilled Intuition as Recognition
Simon (1992) offered a concise definition of skilled intu-
ition that we both endorse: “The situation has provided a
cue: This cue has given the expert access to information
stored in memory, and the information provides the answer.
Intuition is nothing more and nothing less than recognition”
(p. 155). The model of intuition as recognition is helpful in
several ways. First, it demystifies intuition. Many experts
who have intuitions (and some authors who study them)
endow intuition with an almost magic aura— knowledge
that is not acquired by a rational process. In Simon’s
definition, the process by which the pediatric nurse recog-
nizes that an infant may be gravely ill is not different in
principle from the process by which she would notice that
a friend looks tired or angry or from the way in which a
small child recognizes that an animal is a dog, not a cat. It
may be worth noting that this description of pattern recog-
nition and the skilled pattern recognition described in the
RPD model are different from the recognition heuristic
discussed by Goldstein and Gigerenzer (1999), which is a
special-purpose rule of thumb.
The recognition model implies two conditions that
must be satisfied for an intuitive judgment (recognition) to
be genuinely skilled: First, the environment must provide
adequately valid cues to the nature of the situation. Second,
people must have an opportunity to learn the relevant cues.
For the first condition, valid cues must be specifiable, at
least in principle— even if the individual does not know
what they are. The child relies on valid cues to identify a
dog, without any ability to state what the cues are. Simi-
larly, the nurse and the firefighter are also guided by valid
cues they find in the environment. No magic is involved. A
crucial conclusion emerges: Skilled intuitions will only
develop in an environment of sufficient regularity, which
provides valid cues to the situation. The ways in which
skilled judgments take advantage of environmental regu-
larities have been discussed by, among others, Brunswik
(1957) and Hertwig, Hoffrage, and Martingnon (1999).
Validity, as we use the term, describes the causal and
statistical structure of the relevant environment. For exam-
ple, it is very likely that there are early indications that a
building is about to collapse in a fire or that an infant will
soon show obvious symptoms of infection. On the other
hand, it is unlikely that there is publicly available informa-
tion that could be used to predict how well a particular
stock will do—if such valid information existed, the price
of the stock would already reflect it. Thus, we have more
reason to trust the intuition of an experienced fireground
commander about the stability of a building, or the intui-
tions of a nurse about an infant, than to trust the intuitions
of a trader about a stock. We can confidently expect that a
detailed study of how professionals think is more likely to
reveal useful predictive cues in the former cases than in the
Determining the validity of an environment is not
always easy. When Tetlock (2005) embarked on his ambi-
tious study of long-term forecasts of strategic and eco-
nomic events by experts, the outcome of his research was
not obvious. Fifteen years later it was quite clear that the
highly educated and experienced experts that he studied
were not superior to untrained readers of newspapers in
their ability to make accurate long-term forecasts of polit-
ical events. The depressing consistency of the experts’
failure to outdo the novices in this task suggests that the
problem is in the environment: Long-term forecasting must
fail because large-scale historical developments are too
complex to be forecast. The task is simply impossible. A
thought experiment can help. Consider what the history of
the 20th century might have been if the three fertilized eggs
that became Hitler, Stalin, and Mao had been female. The
century would surely have been very different, but can one
know how?
In other environments, the regularities that can be
observed are misleading. Hogarth (2001) introduced the
useful notion of wicked environments, in which wrong
intuitions are likely to develop. His most compelling ex-
ample (borrowed from Lewis Thomas) is the early 20th-
century physician who frequently had intuitions about pa-
tients in the ward who were about to develop typhoid. He
confirmed his intuitions by palpating these patients’
tongues, but because he did not wash his hands the intui-
tions were disastrously self-fulfilling.
High validity does not imply the absence of uncer-
tainty, and the regularities that are to be discovered are
sometimes statistical. Games such as bridge or poker count
as high-validity situations. The mark of these situations is
that skill, the ability to identify favorable bets, improves
without guaranteeing that every attempt will succeed. The
challenge of learning bridge and poker is not essentially
different from the challenge of learning chess, where the
uncertainty arises from the enormous number of possible
As the examples of competitive games illustrate, the
second necessary condition for the development of recog-
nition (and of skilled intuition) is an adequate opportunity
to learn the relevant cues. It has been estimated that chess
masters must invest 10,000 hours to acquire their skills
(Chase & Simon, 1973). Fortunately, most of the skills can
be acquired with less practice. A child does not need
thousands of examples to learn to discriminate dogs from
cats. The skilled pediatric nurse has seen a sufficient num-
ber of sick infants to recognize subtle signs of disease, and
the experienced fireground commander has experienced
numerous fires and probably imagined many more, during
years of thinking and conversing about firefighting. With-
out these opportunities to learn, a valid intuition can only
be due to a lucky accident or to magic—and we do not
believe in magic.
Two conditions must be satisfied for skilled intuition
to develop: an environment of sufficiently high validity and
adequate opportunity to practice the skill. Ericsson, Char-
ness, Hoffman, and Feltovich (2006) have described a
range of factors that influence the rate of skill development.
These include the type of practice people employ, their
level of engagement and motivation, and the self-regula-
tory processes they use. Even when the circumstances are
favorable, however, some people will develop skilled in-
520 September 2009 American Psychologist
tuitions more quickly than others. Talent surely matters.
Every normal child can recognize a cat or a dog, but not all
dedicated chess players become grand masters. Extraordi-
nary players such as Fischer and Kasparov were able to
recognize patterns that other grand masters could not see on
their own—although the weaker players could recognize
the validity of the star’s intuition when led through it.
Intuitions that are available only to a few exceptional
individuals are often called creative. Like other intuitions,
however, creative intuitions are based on finding valid
patterns in memory, a task that some people perform much
better than others. There are large individual differences in
performance on the Remote Associations Test (RAT),
which has a long history as a test of creativity. Participants
in that test are instructed to search for a common associate
of three words. The task has a wide range of difficulty: The
item cottage/swiss/cake is easy, but few people can quickly
find the answer to the item dive/light/rocket—although
everyone recognizes the answer as valid (it is above us and
is blue in good weather; Mednick, 1962). The RAT brings
us back to Simon’s observation that the regularities on
which intuitions depend are represented in memory. The
situation of the RAT has high validity: Widely shared
patterns of associations exist, which everyone can recog-
nize although few can find them without prompting.
Imperfect Intuition
We have seen that reliably skilled intuitions are likely to
develop when the individual operates in a high-validity
environment and has an opportunity to learn the rules of
that environment. These conditions often remain unmet in
professional contexts, either because the environment is
insufficiently predictable (as in the long-term forecasting of
political events) or because of the absence of opportunities
to learn its rules (as in the case of firefighters exposed to a
fire in a skyscraper with unexpected damage to the heat
shielding of its structural support). We both agree that most
of the intuitive judgments and decisions that System 1
produces are skilled, appropriate, and eventually success-
ful. But we also agree that not all intuitive judgments are
skilled, although our hunches about the frequency of ex-
ceptions differ. People, including experienced profession-
als, sometimes have subjectively compelling intuitions
even when they lack true skill, either because the environ-
ment is insufficiently regular or because they have not
mastered it. Lewis (2003) described the weaknesses in the
ability of baseball scouts and managers to judge the capa-
bilities, contributions, and potential of players. Despite
ample opportunities to acquire judgment skill, scouts and
managers were often insensitive to important variables and
overly influenced by such factors as the player’s appear-
ance—a clear case of prediction by representativeness.
When intuitive judgments do not come from skill,
where do they come from? This is the question that stu-
dents of heuristics and biases have explored, mostly in
laboratory experiments. The answer, of course, is that
incorrect intuitions, like valid ones, also arise from the
operations of memory. Three phenomena that have been
discussed in the HB literature illustrate the sources of
flawed intuitive judgments.
Frederick (2005) has studied problems such as the
following: “A ball and a bat together cost $1.10. The bat
costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball
cost?” The question invariably evokes an immediate tenta-
tive solution: 10 cents. But the intuitive response is wrong
in this problem: The correct response is 5 cents. Further-
more, an easy check will quickly show that the answer is
wrong: If the ball is worth 10 cents, then the bat is worth
$1.10 and the total is $1.20, which is not correct. The
surprising finding of Frederick’s research is that many
intelligent people adopt the intuitively compelling response
without checking it. The incidence of intuitive errors in this
question ranges from approximately 50% in top undergrad-
uate schools (MIT, Princeton, Harvard) to 90% in some-
what less selective schools. It can be argued that the setting
of this problem is not typical of the challenges that people
face in the real world, but the phenomenon that Frederick
studied is hardly restricted to puzzles. A common genre of
business literature celebrates successful leaders who made
strategic decisions on the basis of gut feelings and intui-
tions that they did not adequately check, but many of these
successes owe more to luck than to genius (Rosenzweig,
The anchoring phenomenon is another case in which a
bias in the operations of memory causes intuitions to go
astray. Suppose some participants in an experiment are first
asked “Is the average price of German cars more or less
than $100,000?” before they are required to provide a
numerical estimate of the average cost of German cars.
Other respondents encounter a different anchoring ques-
tion: They are first asked whether the average cost of
German cars is more or less than $30,000, and then they are
to give an estimate of the average. We can expect the
estimates of the two groups to differ by as much as half the
difference between the anchors—in this case the expected
anchoring effect would be $35,000 (Jacowitz & Kahneman,
1995). The mechanism of anchoring is well understood
(Mussweiler & Strack, 2000). The original question with
the high anchor brings expensive cars to the respondents’
mind: Mercedes, BMWs, Audis. The lower anchor is more
likely to evoke the image of a beetle and the name Volks-
wagen. The initial question therefore biases the sample of
cars that come to mind when people next attempt to esti-
mate the average price of German cars. The process of
estimating the average is a deliberate, System 2 operation,
but the bias occurs in the automatic phase in which in-
stances are retrieved from memory. The resulting anchor-
ing effect is large and robust. The answers that come to
mind are typically held with substantial confidence, and the
victims of anchoring manipulations confidently deny any
effect of the anchor. The common criticism of laboratory
experiments hardly applies here, because large anchoring
effects have been demonstrated in the courtroom, in real
estate transactions, and in other real-world contexts.
For a final example, consider this question: “Julie is a
graduating senior. She read fluently at age 4. What is your
best guess of her GPA [grade point average]?” Most people
521September 2009 American Psychologist
who think about this question report having an immediate
intuitive impression of the best-fitting GPA. The value that
comes to their mind is a GPA that is as impressive as
Julie’s precocity in reading—roughly a match of percentile
scores. This intuitive prediction is clearly wrong because it
is not regressive. The correlation between early reading and
graduating GPA is not high and certainly does not justify
nonregressive matching. The process that generates this
intuitive answer has been called attribute substitution. The
attribute that is to be assessed is GPA, but the answer is
simply a projection onto the GPA scale of an evaluation of
reading precocity. Attribute substitution has been described
as an automatic process. It produces intuitive judgments in
which a difficult question is answered by substituting an
easier one—the essence of heuristic thinking (Kahneman &
Frederick, 2002).
Of course, the mechanisms that produce incorrect
intuitions will only operate in the absence of skill. If people
have a skilled response to the task with which they are
charged, they will apply their skill. But even in the absence
of skill an intuitive response may come to their minds. The
difficulty is that people have no way to know where their
intuitions came from. There is no subjective marker that
distinguishes correct intuitions from intuitions that are pro-
duced by highly imperfect heuristics. An important char-
acteristic of intuitive judgments, which they share with
perceptual impressions, is that a single response initially
comes to mind. Most of the time we have to trust this first
impulse, and most of the time we are right or are able to
make the necessary corrections if we turn out to be wrong,
but high subjective confidence is not a good indication of
validity (Einhorn & Hogarth, 1978). Checking one’s intu-
ition is an effortful operation of System 2, which people do
not always perform—sometimes because it is difficult to do
so and sometimes because they do not bother.
Intuitions that originate in heuristics are not necessar-
ily wrong. Indeed, the original statement of the HB ap-
proach asserted, “In general these heuristics are quite use-
ful, but sometimes they lead to severe and systematic
errors” (Tversky & Kahneman, 1974, p. 1124). The HB
claim is not that intuitions that arise in heuristics are always
incorrect, only that they are less trustworthy than intuitions
that are rooted in specific experiences. Unfortunately, peo-
ple are not normally aware of the origins of the thoughts
that come to their minds, and the correlation between the
accuracy of their judgments and the confidence they expe-
rience is not consistently high (Arkes, 2001; Griffin &
Tversky, 1992). Subjective confidence is often determined
by the internal consistency of the information on which a
judgment is based, rather than by the quality of that infor-
mation (Einhorn & Hogarth, 1978; Kahneman & Tversky,
1973). As a result, evidence that is both redundant and
flimsy tends to produce judgments that are held with too
much confidence. These judgments will be presented too
assertively to others and are likely to be believed more than
they deserve to be. The safe way to evaluate the probable
accuracy of a judgment (our own or someone else’s) is by
considering the validity of the environment in which the
judgment was made as well as the judge’s history of
learning the rules of that environment.
Professional Intuitions
We are of course not the first to have identified a regular
environment and an adequate opportunity to learn it as
preconditions for the development of skills, including in-
tuitive skills (see, e.g., Hogarth, 2001). Other investigators
have focused on attitude, motivation, talent, and deliberate
practice as crucial to skill development (Ericsson, 2006;
Ericsson et al., 2006).
The importance of predictable environments and op-
portunities to learn them was apparent in an early review of
professions in which expertise develops. Shanteau (1992)
reviewed evidence showing that expertise was found in
livestock judges, astronomers, test pilots, soil judges, chess
masters, physicists, mathematicians, accountants, grain in-
spectors, photo interpreters, and insurance analysts. In con-
trast, Shanteau noted poor performance by experienced
professionals in another large set of occupations: stockbro-
kers, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, college admis-
sions officers, court judges, personnel selectors, and intel-
ligence analysts. Shanteau searched for task characteristics
that distinguished the domains in which experts did well
from those in which experts did poorly. The factors that we
identified—the predictability of outcomes, the amount of
experience, and the availability of good feedback—were
included in his list. In addition, Shanteau pointed to static
(as opposed to dynamic) stimuli as favorable to good
Three professions—nurses, physicians, and audi-
tors—appeared on both of Shanteau’s (1992) lists. These
professionals exhibited genuine expertise in some of their
activities but not in others. We refer to such mixed grades
for professionals as “fractionated expertise,” and we be-
lieve that the fractionation of expertise is the rule, not an
exception. For example, auditors who have expertise in
“hard” data such as accounts receivable may do much less
well with “soft” data such as indications of fraud (J. Shan-
teau, personal communication, February 12, 2009).
There are a few activities, such as chess, in which a
master will not encounter challenges that are genuinely
new. In most domains, however, professionals will occa-
sionally have to deal with situations and tasks that they
have not had an opportunity to master. Physicians, as is
well known, encounter from time to time diagnostic prob-
lems that are entirely new to them—they have expertise in
some diagnoses but not in others. Similarly, weather fore-
casters are more successful in the routine prediction of
temperature and precipitation than in forecasting hail
(Stewart, Roebber, & Bosart, 1997).
Characteristically, we came to the topic of fraction-
ated expertise with different examples in mind. GK focuses
on the experts who perform a constant task (e.g., putting
out fires; establishing a diagnosis) but encounter unfamiliar
situations. The ability to recognize that a situation is anom-
alous and poses a novel challenge is one of the manifesta-
tions of authentic expertise. Descriptions of diagnostic
thinking in medicine emphasize the intuitive ability of
522 September 2009 American Psychologist
some physicians to realize that the characteristics of a case
do not fit into any familiar category and call for a deliberate
search for the true diagnosis (Gawande, 2002; Groopman,
DK is particularly interested in cases in which profes-
sionals who know how to use their knowledge for some
purposes attempt to use the same knowledge for other
purposes. He views the fractionation of expertise as one
element in the explanation of the illusion of validity: the
overconfidence that professionals sometimes experience in
dealing with problems in which they have little or no skill.
Finance professionals, psychotherapists, and intelligence
analysts may know a great deal about a particular company,
patient, or international conflict, and they may have re-
ceived ample feedback supporting their confidence in the
performance of some tasks—typically those that deal with
the short term— but the feedback they receive from their
failures in long-term judgments is delayed, sparse, and
ambiguous. The experience of the professionals that DK
has thought about is therefore conducive to overconfidence.
These professionals may have strong subjective con-
fidence in their judgments, but we do not believe that
subjective confidence reliably indicates whether intuitive
judgments or decisions are valid. When experts recognize
anomalies, using judgments of typicality and familiarity,
they are detecting violations of patterns in the external
situation. In contrast, people do not have a strong ability to
distinguish correct intuitions from faulty ones. People, even
experts, do not appear to be skilled in detecting patterns in
the internal situation in order to identify the basis for their
judgments. Therefore, reliance on subjective confidence
may contribute to overconfidence.
The experts that GK has studied seem less susceptible
to overconfidence, perhaps in part because of the direct
personal risks it poses. Weather forecasters, engineers, and
logistics specialists typically resist requests to make judg-
ments about matters that fall outside their area of compe-
tence. People in professions marked by standard methods,
clear feedback, and direct consequences for error appear to
appreciate the boundaries of their expertise. These experts
know more knowledgeable experts exist. Weather forecast-
ers know there are people in another location who better
understand the local dynamics. Structural engineers know
that chemical engineers, or even structural engineers work-
ing with different types of models or materials, are the true
experts who should be consulted.
As in the other topics that we have considered, we find
no reason to disagree about either fractionation of expertise
or overconfidence. As usual, different rules apply to dif-
ferent tasks.
Augmenting Professional Judgment:
The Use of Algorithms
The attitude toward the Meehl paradigm, in which intui-
tions and professional judgments are set in competition, is
a sore point in conversations between adherents of NDM
and HB. The idea of algorithms that outdo human judges is
a source of pride and joy for members of the HB tribe, but
algorithms are usually distrusted by the NDM community.
There is compelling evidence that under certain con-
ditions mechanical and analytical judgments outperform
human judgment. Grove, Zald, Lebow, Snitz, and Nelson
(2000) reported a meta-analysis of 136 studies that com-
pared the accuracy of clinical and mechanical judgments,
most within the domains of clinical psychology and med-
icine. Their review excluded studies involving nonhuman
outcomes such as horse races and weather. The preponder-
ance of data favored the algorithms (i.e., the “mechanical”
judgments), which were superior in about half the studies
(n"63). The other half of the studies showed no differ-
ence (n"65), and only a few studies showed better
performance by the clinical judgments (n"8). For exam-
ple, the tasks for which there was at least a 17-point
difference in effect size favoring mechanical over clinical
judgments included the following: college academic per-
formance, presence of throat infections, diagnosis of gas-
trointestinal disorders, length of psychiatric hospitalization,
job turnover, suicide attempts, juvenile delinquency, ma-
lingering, and occupational choice.
Findings in which the performance of human judges is
inferior to that of simple algorithms are often cited as
evidence of cognitive ineptitude, but this conclusion is
unwarranted. The correct conclusion is that people perform
significantly more poorly than algorithms in low-validity
environments. The tasks reviewed by Grove et al. (2000)
generally involved noisy and/or highly complex situations.
The forecasts made by the algorithms were often wrong,
albeit less often than the clinical predictions. The studies in
the Meehl paradigm have not produced “smoking gun”
demonstrations in which clinicians miss highly valid cues
that the algorithm detects and uses. Indeed, such an out-
come would be unlikely, because human learning is nor-
mally quite efficient. Where simple and valid cues exist,
humans will find them if they are given sufficient experi-
ence and enough rapid feedback to do so— except in the
environments that Hogarth (2001) labeled “wicked,” in
which the feedback is misleading. A statistical approach
has two crucial advantages over human judgment when
available cues are weak and uncertain: Statistical analysis
is more likely to identify weakly valid cues, and a predic-
tion algorithm will maintain above-chance accuracy by
using such cues consistently. The meta-analysis performed
by Karelaia and Hogarth (2008) showed that consistency
accounted for much of the advantage of algorithms over
The evaluation and approval of personal loans by loan
officers is an example of a situation in which algorithms
should be used to replace human judgment. Identifying the
relatively small number of defaulting loans is a low-valid-
ity task because of the low base rate of the critical outcome.
Algorithms have largely replaced human judges in this
task, using as inputs objective demographic and personal
data rather than subjective impression of reliability. The
result is an unequivocal improvement: We have fairer loan
judgments (i.e., judgments that are not improperly influ-
enced by gender or race), faster decisions, and reduced
523September 2009 American Psychologist
Our analysis suggests that algorithms significantly
outperform humans under two quite different conditions:
(a) when validity is so low that human difficulties in
detecting weak regularities and in maintaining consistency
of judgment are critical and (b) when validity is very high,
in highly predictable environments, where ceiling effects
are encountered and occasional lapses of attention can
cause humans to fail. Automatic transportation systems in
airports are an example in that class.
NDM proponents correctly emphasize that the condi-
tions necessary for the construction and use of an algorithm
are stringent. These conditions include (a) confidence in the
adequacy of the list of variables that will be used, (b) a
reliable and measurable criterion, (c) a body of similar
cases, (d) a cost/benefit ratio that warrants the investment
in the algorithmic approach, and (e) a low likelihood that
changing conditions will render the algorithm obsolete. We
also agree that algorithms that substitute for human judg-
ment must remain under human supervision, to provide
continuous monitoring of their performance and of relevant
changes in the environment. Maintaining adequate super-
vision of algorithms can be difficult, because there is evi-
dence that human operators become more passive and less
vigilant when algorithms are in charge—a phenomenon
that has been labeled “automation bias” (Skitka, Mosier &
Burdick, 1999, 2000).
We agree that the introduction of algorithms and other
formal decision aids in organizations will often encounter
opposition and unexpected problems of implementation.
Few people enjoy being replaced by mechanical devices or
by mathematical algorithms, and many devices and algo-
rithms function less well in the real world than on the
planning board (Yates, Veinott, & Patalano, 2003). Even
decision aids and procedures that leave the authority of the
decision maker intact— decision analysis is a salient exam-
ple—are often resisted, for both good and bad reasons.
Naturally, we have somewhat different attitudes toward
these problems of implementation, with DK usually view-
ing them as obstacles to be overcome and GK seeing them
as reasons to be skeptical about the value of formal methods.
Despite our different attitudes toward formal methods,
we agree on the potential of semi-formal strategies. An
example is the premortem method (Klein, 2007) for reduc-
ing overconfidence and improving decisions. Project teams
using this method start by describing their plan. Next they
imagine that their plan has failed and the project has been
a disaster. Their task is to write down, in two minutes, all
the reasons why the project failed. The facilitator goes
around the table, getting reasons from each of the team
members, starting with the leader. The rationale for the
method is the concept of prospective hindsight (Mitchell,
Russo, & Pennington, 1989)—that people can generate
more criticisms when they are told that an outcome is
certain. It also offers a solution to one of the major prob-
lems of decision making within organizations: the gradual
suppression of dissenting opinions, doubts, and objections,
which is typically observed as an organization commits
itself to a major plan. The premortem method is consistent
with the HB concern for overconfidence while drawing on
and respecting the expertise of decision makers, a hallmark
of the NDM approach. We expect that there are additional
methods that can synthesize the strengths of the two traditions.
In an effort that spanned several years, we attempted to
answer one basic question: Under what conditions are the
intuitions of professionals worthy of trust? We do not claim
that the conclusions we reached are surprising (many were
anticipated by Shanteau, 1992, Hogarth, 2001, and Myers,
2002, among others), but we believe that they add up to a
coherent view of expert intuition, which is more than we
expected to achieve when we began.
Our starting point is that intuitive judgments can
arise from genuine skill—the focus of the NDM
approach— but that they can also arise from inap-
propriate application of the heuristic processes on
which students of the HB tradition have focused.
Skilled judges are often unaware of the cues that
guide them, and individuals whose intuitions are not
skilled are even less likely to know where their
judgments come from.
True experts, it is said, know when they don’t know.
However, nonexperts (whether or not they think
they are) certainly do not know when they don’t
know. Subjective confidence is therefore an unreli-
able indication of the validity of intuitive judgments
and decisions.
The determination of whether intuitive judgments
can be trusted requires an examination of the envi-
ronment in which the judgment is made and of the
opportunity that the judge has had to learn the
regularities of that environment.
We describe task environments as “high-validity” if
there are stable relationships between objectively iden-
tifiable cues and subsequent events or between cues
and the outcomes of possible actions. Medicine and
firefighting are practiced in environments of fairly
high validity. In contrast, outcomes are effectively
unpredictable in zero-validity environments. To a
good approximation, predictions of the future value of
individual stocks and long-term forecasts of political
events are made in a zero-validity environment.
Validity and uncertainty are not incompatible. Some
environments are both highly valid and substan-
tially uncertain. Poker and warfare are examples.
The best moves in such situations reliably increase
the potential for success.
An environment of high validity is a necessary
condition for the development of skilled intuitions.
Other necessary conditions include adequate oppor-
tunities for learning the environment (prolonged
practice and feedback that is both rapid and un-
equivocal). If an environment provides valid cues
and good feedback, skill and expert intuition will
eventually develop in individuals of sufficient talent.
Although true skill cannot develop in irregular or
unpredictable environments, individuals will some-
524 September 2009 American Psychologist
times make judgments and decisions that are suc-
cessful by chance. These “lucky” individuals will be
susceptible to an illusion of skill and to overconfi-
dence (Arkes, 2001). The financial industry is a rich
source of examples.
The situation that we have labeled fractionation of
skill is another source of overconfidence. Profes-
sionals who have expertise in some tasks are some-
times called upon to make judgments in areas in
which they have no real skill. (For example, finan-
cial analysts may be skilled at evaluating the likely
commercial success of a firm, but this skill does not
extend to the judgment of whether the stock of that
firm is underpriced.) It is difficult both for the
professionals and for those who observe them to
determine the boundaries of their true expertise.
We agree that the weak regularities available in
low-validity situations can sometimes support the
development of algorithms that do better than
chance. These algorithms only achieve limited ac-
curacy, but they outperform humans because of
their advantage of consistency. However, the intro-
duction of algorithms to replace human judgment is
likely to evoke substantial resistance and sometimes
has undesirable side effects.
Another conclusion that we both accept is that the
approaches of our respective communities have built-in
limitations. For historical and methodological reasons, HB
researchers generally find errors more interesting and in-
structive than correct performance; but a psychology of
judgment and decision making that ignores intuitive skill is
seriously blinkered. Because their intellectual attitudes de-
veloped in reaction to the HB tradition, members of the
NDM community have an aversion to the word bias and to
the corresponding concept; but a psychology of profes-
sional judgment that neglects predictable errors cannot be
adequate. Although we agree with both of these conclu-
sions, we have yet to move much beyond recognition of the
problem. DK is still fascinated by persistent errors, and GK
still recoils when biases are mentioned. We hope, however,
that our effort may help others do more than we have been
able to do in bringing the insights of both communities to
bear on their common subject.
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... The widespread and rapidly growing research on automatic processing in everyday life (Bargh & Chartrand, 1999;Battaglio Jr et al., 2019;Jacoby et al., 1992;Westen, 1999) and in decision-making (e.g., Bodenhausen & Todd, 2010;Simon, 1992) may explain the tendency of mediators to attend mainly to substantive matters, as opposed to their stated intentions to focus on other factors. Unconscious, automatic judgments are efficient for adaptive behavior, but some can be inept and prone to systematic biases and flaws (Battaglio et al., 2019;Kahneman, 2011;Nisbett & Ross, 1980), especially in uncertain and stressful settings (Kahneman, 2011;Kahneman et al., 1982;Kahneman & Klein, 2009;Tversky & Kahneman, 1974), like conflictual situations. ...
... Though many intuitive judgments are proficient and successful, it is not the case for all. Importantly, people seldom examine these judgments, and often they have no way to know their origin and whether their decisions are faulty or skilled (Kahneman & Klein, 2009). Therefore, without deep inspection or analysis, they will likely continue to behave at odds with their intentions and goals. ...
... Pseudo-expert professionals who have acquired expertise in one aspect of a domain and who may claim sufficient knowledge in another aspect of that domain experience an illusion of validity. Professionals tend to express overconfidence in dealing with issues they might have little aptitude for (Kahneman & Klein, 2009). ...
Full-text available
We make a case for structured reflective practice for improving third-party interventions and mediation decision-making and outcomes. We propose that a lack of awareness of the automatic, intuitive nature of judgments that dominate the fast-paced and uncertain mediation circumstances risk a proper treatment of implicit social-psychological matters driving conflict and suitably addressing substantive issues. Implicit matters include parties' feelings about themselves and relational and process-related issues. The quality of intuitive unconscious decisions could improve by conscious structured reflective practice. This reflection presents a learning opportunity to gain an awareness of unconscious judgments and advance a beneficial interplay between conscious and unconscious processing. To support the significance of conscious, reflective practice for improving automated decisions in third-party interventions and mediation, we present the context of mediation and findings on cognitive processing, intuitive decision-making, expertise, and reflective practice. Empirical findings in negotiation, management, and medicine confirm the effectiveness of structured reflective practice. A research-based, four-dimensional Structured Reflective Instrument (SRI)
... Rationality is a core component of many of the early decision-making theories which means that performance has been evaluated relative to a normative set of alternatives, and that an action outside of the normative model could be considered an "error" (Flach, Feufel, et al., 2017;Kahneman & Klein, 2009;Man, 2019). The heuristics and biases (HB) paradigm contrasted these earlier decision theories, finding that people rely on heuristics as opposed to algorithmic strategies even when these strategies deviate from optimal judgements (Kahneman & Klein, 2009;Klein, 2008). ...
... Rationality is a core component of many of the early decision-making theories which means that performance has been evaluated relative to a normative set of alternatives, and that an action outside of the normative model could be considered an "error" (Flach, Feufel, et al., 2017;Kahneman & Klein, 2009;Man, 2019). The heuristics and biases (HB) paradigm contrasted these earlier decision theories, finding that people rely on heuristics as opposed to algorithmic strategies even when these strategies deviate from optimal judgements (Kahneman & Klein, 2009;Klein, 2008). The HB approach demonstrates a sceptical attitude towards expertise, as studies have found major discrepancies between expert judgement (Kahneman & Klein, 2009). ...
... The heuristics and biases (HB) paradigm contrasted these earlier decision theories, finding that people rely on heuristics as opposed to algorithmic strategies even when these strategies deviate from optimal judgements (Kahneman & Klein, 2009;Klein, 2008). The HB approach demonstrates a sceptical attitude towards expertise, as studies have found major discrepancies between expert judgement (Kahneman & Klein, 2009). Around the mid 1980's research in complex and safety-critical environments increased dramatically, shifting from laboratory-based experiments to dynamic natural settings (Flach, Stappers, et al., 2017;Man, 2019). ...
Full-text available
The maritime industry is undergoing a transformation driven by digitalization and connectivity. There is speculation that in the next two decades the maritime industry will witness changes far exceeding those experienced over the past 100 years. While change is inevitable in the maritime domain, technological developments do not guarantee navigational safety, efficiency, or improved seaway traffic management. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted the Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) concept to define autonomy on a scale from Degrees 1 through 4. Investigations into the impact of MASS on various aspects of the maritime sociotechnical system is currently ongoing by academic and industry stakeholders. However, the early adoption of MASS (Degree 1), which is classified as a crewed ship with decision support, remains largely unexplored. Decision support systems are intended to support operator decision-making and improve operator performance. In practice they can cause unintended changes throughout other elements of the maritime sociotechnical system. In the maritime industry, the human is seldom put first in technology design which paradoxically introduces human-automation challenges related to technology acceptance, use, trust, reliance, and risk. The co-existence of humans and automation, as it pertains to navigation and navigational assistance, is explored throughout this thesis. The aims of this thesis are (1) to understand how decision support will impact navigation and navigational assistance from the operator’s perspective and (2) to explore a framework to help reduce the gaps between the design and use of decision support technologies. This thesis advocates for a human-centric approach to automation design and development while exploring the broader impacts upon the maritime sociotechnical system. This work considers three different projects and four individual data collection efforts during 2017-2022. This research took place in Gothenburg, Sweden, and Warsash, UK and includes data from 65 Bridge Officers (navigators) and 16 Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) operators. Two testbeds were used to conduct the research in several full mission bridge simulators, and a virtual reality environment. A mixed methods approach, with a heavier focus on qualitative data, was adopted to understand the research problem. Methodological tools included literature reviews, observations, questionnaires, ship maneuvering data, collective interviews, think-aloud protocol, and consultation with subject matter experts. The data analysis included thematic analysis, subject matter expert consultation, and descriptive statistics. The results show that operators perceive that decision support will impact their work, but not necessarily as expected. The operators’ positive and negative perceptions are discussed within the frameworks of human-automation interaction, decision-making, and systems thinking. The results point towards gaps in work as it is intended to be done and work as it is done in the user’s context. A user-driven design framework is proposed which allows for a systematic, flexible, and iterative design process capable of testing new technologies while involving all stakeholders. These results have led to the identification of several research gaps in relation to the overall preparedness of the shipping industry to manage the evolution toward smarter ships. This thesis will discuss these findings and advocate for human-centered automation within the quickly evolving maritime industry.
... in decision-making (e.g., Bodenhausen & Todd, 2010;Simon, 1992) may explain the tendency of mediators to attend mainly to substantive matters, as opposed to their stated intentions to focus on other factors. Unconscious, automatic judgments are efficient for adaptive behavior, but some can be inept and prone to systematic biases and flaws (Battaglio et al., 2019;Kahneman, 2011;Nisbett & Ross, 1980), especially in uncertain and stressful settings (Kahneman, 2011;Kahneman & Klein, 2009;Kahneman, Slovic & Tversky, 1982;Tversky & Kahneman, 1974), like conflictual situations. ...
... Though many intuitive judgments are proficient and successful, it is not the case for all. Importantly, people seldom examine these judgments, and often they have no way to know their origin and whether their decisions are faulty or skilled (Kahneman & Klein, 2009). Therefore, without deep inspection or analysis, they will likely continue to behave at odds with their intentions and goals. ...
... Pseudo-expert professionals who have acquired expertise in one aspect of a domain and who may claim sufficient knowledge in another aspect of that domain experience an illusion of validity. Professionals tend to express overconfidence in dealing with issues they might have little aptitude for (Kahneman & Klein, 2009). ...
A Structured Reflection for Improving 3rd Party Interventions and Mediation Practice: Reconsidering Debrief
... In situations in which System 1 dominates System 2 (e.g., limited time, high cognitive load, or when the choice is closer to perception than to deliberate assessment), the decision maker's judgment is especially likely to deviate from the rules of logic (Fazio, 2001). Although there are exceptions, such as expert intuition trained in repetitive and predictable settings-think about chess (Kahneman and Klein, 2009)-in real-world situations automatic evaluations will not always be "reasonable by the cooler criteria of reflective reasoning. In other words, the preferences of System 1 are not necessarily consistent with preferences of System 2" (Kahneman, 2003(Kahneman, , p. 1463. ...
Full-text available
Automatic preferences can influence a decision maker’s choice before any relevant or meaningful information is available. We account for this element of human cognition in a computational model of problem solving that involves active trial and error and show that automatic biases are not just a beneficial or detrimental property: they are a tool that, if properly managed over time, can give rise to superior performance. In particular, automatic preferences are beneficial early on and detrimental at later stages. What is more, additional value can be generated by a timely rebiasing , i.e., a calculated reversal of the initial automatic preference. Remarkably, rebiasing can dominate not only debiasing (i.e., eliminating the bias) but also continuously unbiased decision making. This research contributes to the debate on the adaptiveness of automatic and intuitive biases, which has centered primarily on one-shot controlled laboratory experiments, by simulating outcomes across extended time spans. We also illustrate the value of the novel intervention of adopting the opposite automatic preference—something organizations can readily achieve by changing key decision makers—as opposed to attempting to correct for or simply accepting the ubiquity of such biases.
... The intuitions of experts differ from everyday intuitions in important ways-most importantly, they are more likely to be useful if (1) the area of expertise is one that is governed by regularities and (2) the expert had repeated experience with immediate feedback in that area. It seems that these two criteria can explain why "professional intuition is sometimes marvelous and sometimes flawed" (Kahneman & Klein, 2009). Consider chess players. ...
... For similar lines of thought, seeBreivik (2007) andHøffding (2014Høffding ( , 2018. ...
Full-text available
According to Dreyfusian anti-intellectualism, know-how or expertise cannot be explained in terms of know-that and its cognates but only in terms of intuition. Hubert Dreyfus and Stuart Dreyfus do not exclude know-that and its cognates in explaining skilled action. However, they think that know-that and its cognates (such as calculative deliberation and perspectival deliberation) only operate either below or above the level of expertise. In agreement with some critics of Dreyfus and Dreyfus, in this paper, I argue that know-that and its cognates are constitutive of rather than external to know-how and expertise. However, unlike those critics, who argue for this point only from a phenomenological point of view, my argument adopts a (telic) normative point of view.
... However, this quantitative risk may not explicitly reflect land manager's perceptions of risk that are influenced by a multitude of factors. Assumptions, recent memories, quality, skill and bias associated with professional judgments, perceived affect, and real risk are factors influencing risk perceptions [21][22][23][24][25]. Unless otherwise noted, risk is defined by the risk produced from the relative risk assessment. ...
Full-text available
(1) Background: Federal land managers in the US are charged with risk-based decision-making which requires them to know the risk and to direct resources accordingly. Without understanding the specific factors that produce risk, it is difficult to identify strategies to reduce it. (2) Methods: Risk characterized by U.S. land managers during wildfires was evaluated from 2010–2017 to identify factors driving risk perceptions. Annotation from 282 wildfires in two regions with distinctive risk profiles, the Northwest and Southwest Geographic Areas, were qualitatively coded using the risk assessment framework of hazards, values, and probability from the Relative Risk Assessment in the Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS). (3) Results: The effects of climate on seasonal severity, fuel condition, and fire behavior emerged as the most influential factors driving risk perceptions and characterizations of risk in both regions. Monsoonal precipitation extended the longevity of landscape barriers, especially in the Southwest. The results suggest that a scarcity of values at risk and a mild fire environment produce low risk fires regardless of location, while high risk fires reflect specific local values and geography, under the umbrella of dry climate. (4) Conclusions: the climatic contrasts between the two regions highlight how influential climate change will be on future characterizations of wildfire risk.
This paper serves to deepen the understanding of how inconsistencies between feeling, thinking, and doing are managed by decision-makers in emergency settings. We use a practice approach and investigate the emergency physicians in an Emergency Department (ED), by means of 200 h of observations, 12 in-depth interviews, and organizational documentation. Data are analyzed using an abductive template-based approach. The configuration of three different decision-making modes, namely an experiential-based mode, an ostensive-based mode, and an action-based mode, provide an eight-fold typology of emergency physicians' decision-making praxis. “Weak” signals are the starting point for clinical assessment, and inconsistencies among the modes are strategically used and surprisingly often associated with positive treatment outcomes. The praxis perspective used in this article bridges literature on choice and interpretation—processes usually separated in organizational and decision-making literature. Inconsistency between the modes allow physicians to create an action space where decision-making is about more than providing the “right” answer. Making use of the eight-fold typology helps physicians identify “blind spots”, improve practice in both mundane and medically rare cases, as well as aid in revision of existing routines. This awareness also provides for high-quality care, an increased acceptance of inconsistencies by the public, with a potential to reduce litigation issues.
La ricerca scientifica in psichiatria sta creando un divario nei confronti delle nozioni di psichiatria che posseggono le persone comuni, in maniera analoga alla progressiva distanza fra psicologia scientifica e psicologia popolare e di senso comune. Vengono indagate le nozioni che la psichia-tria scientifica e quella popolare condividono, e quelle in cui si differenziano spesso con aspetti controintuitivi. Dopo aver delineato i tratti essenziali del concetto di senso comune e di psicologia popolare e delle loro teorie più rappresentative, viene sottolineato il ruolo centrale che i concetti popolari svolgono non solo nella teoria psichiatrica, in particolare nella diagnosi, ma anche nella pratica quotidiana. Questi concetti entrano poi nella immagine di sé stessi, del mondo e nelle rela-zioni interpersonali, mostrando la improponibilità di una psichiatria che miri a fare a meno del senso comune e la necessità di una attenta mediazione fra psichiatria scientifica e psichiatria popolare. Questo aspetto è ancora più importante nella psichiatria pratica che si rivela simile per molti aspetti alla psichiatria popolare.
Conference Paper
Executive functions are cognitive abilities that enable people to manage their performance effectively. Effective attention management facilitates people's performance when they must think or act quick and adaptively, or when new job demands and time are limited. Executive functions in organizations may specifically predict how successful leaders and managers perform in their role and how to advance organizational goals. However, organizational behavior and human resource research has largely ignored new cognitive approaches and executive functions. The current research focuses on the executive function of attention, targets the competencies of managers, and in the form of an experimental study, by establishing an assessment center for evaluating the competencies of managers in one of the petrochemical companies in Iran, to examine and evaluate the connections between the desired competencies and attention for 71 people. It pays attention to managers and their executive function. Finally, the investigations and the results of statistical analysis on the obtained evidences from this community indicate significant effects and meaningful connections of the attention with the competencies that are defined based on the strategic organizational model for evaluating the managers.
"The reinvention of decision making" Naturalistic Decision Making (NDM) provides a new approach for understanding and supporting decision makers as they work in complex, time-pressured, and high-risk environments. An NDM framework provides a perspective for understanding command decision making in complex organizations such as the Combined Joint Task Force and for supporting this decision making in a variety of operations including peace operations. This paper provides a detailed description of the field of NDM. The authors begin with a description of three different decision scenarios. These scenarios facilitate a discussion of the characteristics of naturalistic decision settings and the importance of expertise for naturalistic decision making. The authors conclude the chapter with discussions of research methods and the findings from NDM research that distinguish it from more traditional decision research.
Evidence is reviewed which suggests that there may be little or no direct introspective access to higher order cognitive processes. Subjects are sometimes (a) unaware of the existence of a stimulus that importantly influenced a response, (b) unaware of the existence of the response, and (c) unaware that the stimulus has affected the response. It is proposed that when people attempt to report on their cognitive processes, that is, on the processes mediating the effects of a stimulus on a response, they do not do so on the basis of any true introspection. Instead, their reports are based on a priori, implicit causal theories, or judgments about the extent to which a particular stimulus is a plausible cause of a given response. This suggests that though people may not be able to observe directly their cognitive processes, they will sometimes be able to report accurately about them. Accurate reports will occur when influential stimuli are salient and are plausible causes of the responses they produce, and will not occur when stimuli are not salient or are not plausible causes.
This chapter describes the progress made toward understanding chess skill. It describes the work on perception in chess, adding some new analyses of the data. It presents a theoretical formulation to characterize how expert chess players perceive the chess board. It describes some tasks that correlate with chess skill and the cognitive processes of skilled chess players. It is believed that the demonstration of de Groot's, far from being an incidental side effect of chess skill, actually reveals one of the most important processes that underlie chess skill—the ability to perceive familiar patterns of pieces. In the first experiment discussed in the chapter, two tasks were used. The memory task was very similar to de Groot's task: chess players saw a position for 5 seconds and then attempted to recall it. Unlike de Groot, multiple trials were used—5 seconds of viewing followed by recall—until the position was recalled perfectly. The second task or the perception task for simplicity involved showing chess players a position in plain view.
Hypothetical thought involves the imagination of possibilities and the exploration of their consequences by a process of mental simulation. Using a recently developed theoretical framework called Hypothetical Thinking Theory, Jonathan St. B. T. Evans provides an integrated theoretical account of a wide range of psychological studies on hypothesis testing, reasoning, judgement and decision making. Hypothetical thinking theory is built on three key principles, implemented in a revised and updated version of Evans' well-known heuristic-analytic theory of reasoning. The central claim of this book is that this theory can provide an integrated account of some apparently very diverse phenomena including confirmation bias in hypothesis testing, acceptance of fallacies in deductive reasoning, belief biases in reasoning and judgement, biases of statistical judgement and a number of characteristic findings in the study of decision making. The author also provides broad ranging discussion of cognitive biases, human rationality and dual-process theories of higher cognition. Hypothetical Thinking draws on and develops arguments first proposed in Evans' earlier work from this series, Bias in Human Reasoning. In the new theory, however, cognitive biases are attributed equally to analytic and heuristic processing and a much wider range of phenomena are reviewed and discussed. It will therefore be of great interest to researchers and post-graduates in psychology and the cognitive sciences, as well as to undergraduate students looking for a comprehensive review of current work on reasoning and decision-making.
The intelligence failures surrounding the invasion of Iraq dramatically illustrate the necessity of developing standards for evaluating expert opinion. This book fills that need. Here, Philip E. Tetlock explores what constitutes good judgment in predicting future events, and looks at why experts are often wrong in their forecasts. Tetlock first discusses arguments about whether the world is too complex for people to find the tools to understand political phenomena, let alone predict the future. He evaluates predictions from experts in different fields, comparing them to predictions by well-informed laity or those based on simple extrapolation from current trends. He goes on to analyze which styles of thinking are more successful in forecasting. Classifying thinking styles using Isaiah Berlin's prototypes of the fox and the hedgehog, Tetlock contends that the fox--the thinker who knows many little things, draws from an eclectic array of traditions, and is better able to improvise in response to changing events--is more successful in predicting the future than the hedgehog, who knows one big thing, toils devotedly within one tradition, and imposes formulaic solutions on ill-defined problems. He notes a perversely inverse relationship between the best scientific indicators of good judgement and the qualities that the media most prizes in pundits--the single-minded determination required to prevail in ideological combat. Clearly written and impeccably researched, the book fills a huge void in the literature on evaluating expert opinion. It will appeal across many academic disciplines as well as to corporations seeking to develop standards for judging expert decision-making.
Many decisions are based on beliefs concerning the likelihood of uncertain events such as the outcome of an election, the guilt of a defendant, or the future value of the dollar. Occasionally, beliefs concerning uncertain events are expressed in numerical form as odds or subjective probabilities. In general, the heuristics are quite useful, but sometimes they lead to severe and systematic errors. The subjective assessment of probability resembles the subjective assessment of physical quantities such as distance or size. These judgments are all based on data of limited validity, which are processed according to heuristic rules. However, the reliance on this rule leads to systematic errors in the estimation of distance. This chapter describes three heuristics that are employed in making judgments under uncertainty. The first is representativeness, which is usually employed when people are asked to judge the probability that an object or event belongs to a class or event. The second is the availability of instances or scenarios, which is often employed when people are asked to assess the frequency of a class or the plausibility of a particular development, and the third is adjustment from an anchor, which is usually employed in numerical prediction when a relevant value is available.