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Forecasting, Judgment Modeling, Occupational Therapy, Ageism

Clare Harries
London, England

I've been working on a number of Brunswikian-related projects over the past year. Here's a brief summary.

Judgmental Combination of Forecasts

The two-year Judgmental Combination of Forecasts project I've been working on with Nigel Harvey is coming to an end. We are about to start a new project looking at people's assessments of risk and, separately, how people take into account factors such as promotional effects when forecasting time series. The forecasting project has involved a large number of experiments and has allowed us to explore the relationship between the multidimensional MCPL research paradigm and the unidimensional Advice Taking paradigm, both of which are naturally involved in real life forecasting situations. In all of our studies, we have used lens model analysis: looking at each individual's use of different forecasts in relation to how useful they might be, given the local environment. The experiments we have carried out have finally fallen into papers on the relationship between advice assessment and advice taking, on anchoring and adjustment and conservatism, and on the effects of factors such as extremism and redundancy in advice taking. In addition, we have tentatively explored the relationship between explicit and implicit understanding of the task and of behavior in relation to the differing complexities in uni- and multidimensional tasks.

Modeling Decision Making

This year, despite a physical distance of about 1,000 miles, Mandeep K. Dhami and I have continued to collaborate on our examination of the pros and cons of different techniques for modeling human judgment. We have concentrated on raising this issue among a number of different intellectual groups. We were able to compare our work to that of the machine learning (AI) researchers at a joint meeting of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine (Europe) and the European Society for Medical Decision Making. We also organized a symposium at SPUDM (the biennial meeting of the European Association for Decision Making) at which papers were presented on structural equations modeling, process tracing, dynamic systems modeling, regression modeling, and fast and frugal modeling. The symposium is being prepared for a special issue of Thinking and Reasoning.

Occupational Therapy (OT)

Last year Cilla Harries (Lecturer in Occupational Therapy at Brunel University, U.K.) and I started to collaborate on an examination of what could be gained from analysis of OT judgment and decision making comparing both qualitative and quantitative techniques. Post-partum interruptions aside, we are currently using a judgment analysis paradigm to look at how Occupational Therapists prioritize referrals in a community mental health team. Qualitative data on this subject had already been collected during Cilla's MSc, using information processing techniques. The possibilities for this research are endless. Different professionals work within the community health team, and judgment analysis could be used to tease out the differences in how they perceive their own and others' roles in the team. However, the research is heading in an educational direction at the moment. OT is taught in some universities in England using a hybrid of problem-based learning (PBL) techniques. Throughout the undergraduate studies, OT students organize their learning around actual referral data. Lectures and clinical placements enhance learning through the exposure to real case descriptions and scenarios. Drawing both on the JA literature on feedback and on Robert Hamm's work with surgical scripts, Cilla intends to develop our initial descriptive work into a larger project comparing the current PBL with problem-based learning enhanced by scripts and by cognitive feedback.

Ageism and Medical Decision Making

There is an ongoing debate on rationing in the British National Health Service (NHS). Nigel Harvey, Anne Bowling (an expert in Ageism), and I in London have just received three years of funding to use judgment analysis to look at General Practitioner and consultant decision making and the role this plays in age-related inequalities in the NHS. Damien Forrest is the full-time researcher on the project. More on this next year.

Contact C. Harries

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