A User's Guide to Debiasing

Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Judgment and Decision Making, Gideon Keren and George Wu (Editors), Forthcoming

42 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2014 Last revised: 20 Jun 2014

Jack B. Soll

Duke University - Management

Katherine L. Milkman

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School

John W. Payne

Duke University - Marketing

Date Written: June 17, 2014

Abstract

Decades of research have yielded an array of debiasing strategies that can improve judgments and decisions across a wide range of settings in fields such as business, medicine, and policy. And, of course, debiasing strategies can improve our personal decisions as well. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a guide to these strategies. We begin with a brief discussion of the sources of bias in decision making. It helps to know how poor decisions arise in order to generate insights about how to improve them. This discussion is followed by a section on decision readiness which refers to whether an individual is in a position to make a good decision in a particular situation. Intense emotional states, fatigue, and poor decision-related skills (e.g., being innumerate) can all contribute to a lack of decision readiness. We then turn to a review of debiasing techniques, organized according to whether they modify the person or the environment. We close with a discussion of six considerations in choosing which debiasing method to apply.

Keywords: judgment, decision making, bias, debiasing, nudges

JEL Classification: D03

Suggested Citation

Soll, Jack B. and Milkman, Katherine L. and Payne, John W., A User's Guide to Debiasing (June 17, 2014). Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Judgment and Decision Making, Gideon Keren and George Wu (Editors), Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2455986

Jack B. Soll

Duke University - Management ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States
(919) 660-7858 (Phone)

Katherine L. Milkman (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

John W. Payne

Duke University - Marketing ( email )

United States

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