Decision making can be improved through observational learning

Published on Jan 1, 2021in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
· DOI :10.1016/J.OBHDP.2020.10.011
Haewon Yoon5
Estimated H-index: 5
(IU: Indiana University),
Irene Scopelliti8
Estimated H-index: 8
(City University London),
Carey K. Morewedge27
Estimated H-index: 27
(BU: Boston University)
Abstract Observational learning can debias judgment and decision making. One-shot observational learning-based training interventions (akin to “hot seating”) can produce reductions in cognitive biases in the laboratory (i.e., anchoring, representativeness, and social projection), and successfully teach a decision rule that increases advice taking in a weight on advice paradigm (i.e., the averaging principle). These interventions improve judgment, rule learning, and advice taking more than practice. We find observational learning-based interventions can be as effective as information-based interventions. Their effects are additive for advice taking, and for accuracy when advice is algorithmically optimized. As found in the organizational learning literature, explicit knowledge transferred through information appears to reduce the stickiness of tacit knowledge transferred through observational learning. Moreover, observational learning appears to be a unique debiasing training strategy, an addition to the four proposed by Fischhoff (1982). We also report new scales measuring individual differences in anchoring, representativeness heuristics, and social projection.
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