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Intuitions about combining opinions: misappreciation of the averaging principle

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Averaging estimates is an effective way of improving accuracy when combining expert judgments, integrating group members' judgments, or using advice to modify personal judgments. If the estimates of two imperfect judges ever fall on either side of the truth, which the authors term bracketing, averaging must outperform the average judge. The authors hypothesized that people often hold an incorrect theory about averaging, falsely believing that the average of two judges' estimates would be no more accurate than the average judge. Experiment 1 confirmed that this misconception was common across a range of bracketing rates. Experiment 2 demonstrated that the effectiveness of averaging can be recognized when bracketing was made transparent. They conclude by describing how every day life provides few opportunities to learn the benefits of averaging and how misappreciating averaging contributes to poor intuitive strategies for combining estimates.

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en

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application/pdf

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http://flora.insead.edu/fichiersti_wp/inseadwp2003/2003-09.pdf

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Copyright INSEAD. All rights reserved