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Lay summary
We proposed "dialectical bootstrapping"-simulating the "wisdom of crowds" within a single mind-as technique to improve individual judgment (Herzog & Hertwig, 2009). This project tests the robustness of dialectical bootstrapping and whether people can be taught to use it.BACKGROUNDDifferent lines of research have addressed how to best make quantitative predictions, including psychology, management science, computer science, statistics and medicine. One time proven way to improve judgment is the following: When there are several different plausible predictions (stemming from different experts and/or different statistical procedures) and no reliable track record about their past performance are available, average those predictions. Averages of predictions outperform the typical predictions in the set and can even outperform the best single prediction. Can a single person benefit from averaging without actually consulting other people? We proposed a novel approach to improve individual judgment called "dialectical bootstrapping", which enables different opinions to be generated and combined by the same person, thus simulating the "wisdom of crowds" within a single mind (Herzog & Hertwig, 2009).GOALWe have two main goals: First, we test the robustness and boundary conditions of dialectical bootstrapping by investigating its effectiveness in different domains and using different procedures. Second, we examine several psychological aspects of dialectical bootstrapping, namely whether people spontaneously use dialectical bootstrapping, whether the tool can be taught to people and whether people are prepared to combine conflicting estimates at all when the conflict's source is their own mind.RELEVANCEDialectical bootstrapping promises to be a practical tool to improve quantitative judgments. In many settings, as for example in finance, medical and managerial decision making, there are successful decision aids available that can be applied in routine decision making situations. However, whenever new situations emerge, decision makers often do not have the time, resources or data to construct appropriate statistical models or to seek advice from other people. Instead, they could try to tap into the wisdom of the crowd in their own mind by applying dialectical bootstrapping.---Herzog, S. M., & Hertwig, R. (2009). The wisdom of many in one mind: Improving individual judgments with dialectical bootstrapping. Psychological Science, 20, 231-237. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02271.xPrincipal investigator: Dr. Stefan Herzog, Cognitive and Decision Sciences, Department of Psychology, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland http:www.psycho.unibas.ch/herz