Dr Matthew Welsh and Prof Steve Begg have been awarded an ARC Linkage grant for $311,000, that is supported by cash and in-kind contributions from Woodside and Santos. The three-year project aims to develop techniques to eliminated biases from groups working together to make judgements or forecasts. Although it involves working with the oil and gas industry, the results should be bradly applicable to wherever groups of experts are making judgements and forecasts.
“Subject matter experts, like all people, fall prey to a range of inherent biases when making judgements or predictions”, says Professor Begg. “These judgements are then used to inform many important decisions, whether in oil and gas, other industries, government, charities and so on. With biaised inputs there is a greater chance of poor decisions, leading to bad outcomes with undesirable consequences which may be economic, environment or social.
Dr Matthew Welsh and I have developed new techniques to ameliorate these problems for individual judgements. This new project extends our current work to situations where groups of experts are making the judgements together. Groups are known to be subject to additional biases. The ultimate goal is to develop a computerised tool for bringing together the input information to help make better decisions”.
Dr Matthew Welsh, Senior Research Fellow – Decision Making, says the work applies to psychology to industry decision-making. “The work focuses on biases that occur inherently from people’s cognitive processes rather than any specific motivation. The techniques we are developing are based around how best to ask questions of people to avoid these biases and how to combine individual responses to give the best, unbiased group forecast”