Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1571358
 
 

References (30)



 
 

Citations (1)



 


 



Stories vs. Statistics: The Impact of Anecdotal Data on Professional Decision Making


James Wainberg


University of Waterloo

Thomas Kida


University of Massachusetts at Amherst

James F. Smith


University of Massachusetts Amherst

March 12, 2010


Abstract:     
Prior research suggests that decision makers can be biased by anecdotal data, even in the presence of more informative statistical data. However, much of that research has been conducted on non-professionals. Smith and Kida (1991) note that judgment biases are often mitigated or modified when professionals perform job-related tasks. As a result, it is unclear whether anecdotal biases will occur in professional decision making, where training, incentives, and professional duties may reduce the effects of such a bias. We conduct experiments in two different professional contexts (i.e., management decision making and auditing) and find that business professionals ignored, or underweighted, more informative statistical data in favor of anecdotal data, leading to suboptimal business decisions. In addition, we investigate whether two decision aids, judgment orientation and counter-argument, mitigate the effects of this anecdotal bias. The results indicate that both decision aids can reduce the influence of anecdotal data.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 30

Keywords: Stories vs. Statistics, Anecdotal Bias, Judgment Orientation, Counter-Argument

JEL Classification: M41, M49

working papers series





Download This Paper

Date posted: March 24, 2010 ; Last revised: March 21, 2014

Suggested Citation

Wainberg, James and Kida, Thomas and Smith, James F., Stories vs. Statistics: The Impact of Anecdotal Data on Professional Decision Making (March 12, 2010). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1571358 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1571358

Contact Information

James Wainberg (Contact Author)
University of Waterloo ( email )
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1
Canada
Thomas Kida
University of Massachusetts at Amherst ( email )
Isenberg School of Management
Amherst, MA 01003
United States
413-545-5650 (Phone)
413-545-3858 (Fax)
James F. Smith
University of Massachusetts Amherst ( email )
Amherst, MA 01003
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 3,820
Downloads: 651
Download Rank: 21,756
References:  30
Citations:  1
Paper comments
No comments have been made on this paper

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo8 in 0.313 seconds