Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Wisdom of Many in One Mind

Herzog SM, Hertwig R. The wisdom of many in one mind: improving individual judgments with dialectical bootstrapping. Psychol Sci 2009;20:231-7.

Abstract: (paragraphed for easier readability)

The "wisdom of crowds" in making judgments about the future or other unknown events is well established. The average quantitative estimate of a group of individuals is consistently more accurate than the typical estimate, and is sometimes even the best estimate.

Although individuals' estimates may be riddled with errors, averaging them boosts accuracy because both systematic and random errors tend to cancel out across individuals.

We propose exploiting the power of averaging to improve estimates generated by a single person by using an approach we call dialectical bootstrapping. Specifically, it should be possible to reduce a person's error by averaging his or her first estimate with a second one that harks back to somewhat different knowledge.

We derive conditions under which dialectical bootstrapping fosters accuracy and provide an empirical demonstration that its benefits go beyond reliability gains. A single mind can thus simulate the wisdom of many

My Comment:

I will try to explain the method in a subsequent post.

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