Showing posts with label Confirmation Bias. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Confirmation Bias. Show all posts

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Super Simple Secret To Improved Decisions

Is it really possible that a pen and paper may be the ultimate tool to improve decision-making? When I began this blog, I thought it would take work to stumble upon ways to understand and improve decision-making. Yet, in only my third post (Bad Outcomes, Revisited), I bumped into the idea of a decision journal.

The idea is simple enough. When making major or notable decisions, write down the thought process leading up to how the final decision was made.  Really it's no different than any other type of journal a person might keep, but in this one you document your daily decisions. 

While it seems simple, the impact could be profound. The decision journal becomes a record of how we went about making a decision. The journal can be used to remind us in the future of what processes appeared to work out well and which rationale ended up in a poor outcome. The journal offers us reminders of how we have made decisions in the past.

And this could be very important in improving decision-making. Without some record of our decisions, we still look to past decisions to help make future ones. We scour our memories for similar decisions and rely on those experiences to guide us. The problem as, we're sort of bad at remembering the past clearly. Hindsight bias changes the way we view the past decision in the present. Confirmation bias helps us remember the decisions that support our current position while overlooking decisions that might offer an argument against that position.

A decision journal offers a layer of protection against the effects of these. I doubt that the protection is perfect or absolute, but I suspect it is very helpful.

I'm going to beginning digging into the decision journal more and look for research on the impact of decision-making record keeping on future decisions. In the mean time, I intend on maintaining a decision journal for myself. How about you?