Funder, D. C. (1987). Errors and mistakes: Evaluating the accuracy of social judgment. Psychological bulletin, 101(1), 75-90.

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Funder (1987) critiques the relevance of errors in of the study of accuracy in social judgments. He argues that errors (departures from a normative standard) found in experiments do not generalize to real-world mistakes unless the laboratory settings approach real-world environments where similar processes are used by the participants.

To illustrate his point, Funder discusses several examples from perceptual and social psychology. For each of the examples, he first details the discrepancy between the real-world and the utilized laboratory environments. Then, he discusses how participants used decision/judgment strategies useful in the real-world and how those strategies led to the “suboptimal” results found by the researchers in their experiments.

Funder finally suggests that if studying error is inappropriate, researchers should use inter-judge agreement (e.g. consensus) and the ability of judgments to predict behavior to measure accuracy.

Additional Readings:

Einhorn, H.J. & Hogarth, R.M. (1981). Behavioral Decision Theory: Processes of Judgment and Choice. Annual Review of Psychology, 32, 53-88.

Arkes, H.R. (1991). Costs and Benefits of Judgment Errors: Implications for Debiasing. Psychological Bulletin, 110, 486-498.

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