Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Why You Shouldn't Always Trust Your Gut

How much do you trust your gut instincts?

According to a new research, you may be relying on them too much.

While there is often a lot of data and analytics available to use in a hiring decision or a performance evaluation, for example, many employees still rely on their own intuition to make a decision, find researchers at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

"A lot of people just want to rely on their gut or go by the seat of their pants. They don’t want to rely on consistent, evidence-based rules — and they should," says Joseph Simmons, a professor in Wharton's department of operations, information and decisions.

Part of the problem is that once people see algorithms or computers make a mistake, then they don't want to use them anymore to make decisions, even though these methods are going to make smaller and fewer mistakes than human beings. The good news is that once people are given the choice to adjust the algorithms a bit, then they're more likely to use them, research shows.

"The downside to giving them control is they start degrading the algorithm. In most domains, they’re not as good as the model. The more of their opinion is in there, the worse it performs," says Cade Massey, also a professor of operations, information and decisions at Wharton.

Researchers found that giving people about 5% wiggle room satisfied them and didn't mess up the algorithms. 

"We can’t get people to use algorithms 100%, but we can get them to use algorithms 99%, and that massively improves their judgments," Simmons says.

Their best advice: Don't "impose" algorithms on people, but instead give them some discretion and there is less likely to be a major push back -- and better decisions will be made.

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