Category: Decision Theory

Let’s publish everything.

The other day someone pointed me to this article by James Kaufman and Vlad Glǎveanu in a psychology journal which begins: How does the current replication crisis, along with other recent psychological trends, affect scientific creativity? To answer this question, we consider current debates regarding replication through the lenses of creativity research and theory. Both […]

Name this fallacy!

It’s the fallacy of thinking that, just cos you’re good at something, that everyone should be good at it, and if they’re not, they’re just being stubborn and doing it badly on purpose. I thought about this when reading this line from Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker: [Henry Louis] Gates is one of the […]


So. I noticed my rear brake wasn’t really doing anything. If I squeezed really hard, I could slow down, but not enough to stop going down a steep hill. No big deal—it’s the front brake that really matters, right?—but just for safety’s sake I went to the bike store one day and they replaced the […]

“Boosting intelligence analysts’ judgment accuracy: What works, what fails?”

Kevin Lewis points us to this research article by David Mandel, Christopher Karvetski, and Mandeep Dhami, which begins: A routine part of intelligence analysis is judging the probability of alternative hypotheses given available evidence. Intelligence organizations advise analysts to use intelligence-tradecraft methods such as Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH) to improve judgment, but such methods […]

Why “statistical significance” doesn’t work: An example.

Reading some of the back-and-forth in this thread, it struck me that some of the discussion was about data, some was about models, some was about underlying reality, but none of the discussion was driven by statements that this or that pattern in data was “statistically significant.” Here’s the problem with “statistical significance” as I […]

A question about the piranha problem as it applies to A/B testing

Wicaksono Wijono writes: While listening to your seminar about the piranha problem a couple weeks back, I kept thinking about a similar work situation but in the opposite direction. I’d be extremely grateful if you share your thoughts. So the piranha problem is stated as “There can be some large and predictable effects on behavior, […]

Active learning and decision making with varying treatment effects!

In a new paper, Iiris Sundin, Peter Schulam, Eero Siivola, Aki Vehtari, Suchi Saria, and Samuel Kaski write: Machine learning can help personalized decision support by learning models to predict individual treatment effects (ITE). This work studies the reliability of prediction-based decision-making in a task of deciding which action a to take for a target […]

Treatment interactions can be hard to estimate from data.

Brendan Nyhan writes: Per #3 here, just want to make sure you saw the Coppock Leeper Mullinix paper indicating treatment effect heterogeneity is rare. My reply: I guess it depends on what is being studied. In the world of evolutionary psychology etc., interactions are typically claimed to be larger than main effects (for example, that […]

C’est le fin! Riad Sattouf gagne.

Le mec japonais qui gagnait la competition pour manger les saucisses—alors, ça sonne mieux en anglais—M. Kobayashi était un grand « underdog », le cheval sombre de cet « mars fou », mais en fait je dois avancer le dessinateur, grâce à le poème de Dzhaughn: Please don’t ignore this dour crie de couer at […]

Pele wins. On to the semifinals!

Like others, I’m sad that Veronica Geng is out of the running, so I’ll have to go with Diana: Jonathan’s post-hoc argument for Geng was so good that I now have to vote for Pele, given that his name can be transformed into Geng’s through a simple row matrix operation (a gesture that just might […]

Pele vs. Meryl Streep; Riad Sattouf advances

Yesterday Dzhaughn gave a complicated argument but ultimately I couldn’t figure out if it was pro- or anti-Geng, so I had to go with Dalton’s straight shot: Geng has been accused of being “subtle to the point of unintelligibility.” So apparently ole V puts the “b” in subtle. So here’s to our man, Riad who […]

Riad Sattouf (1) vs. Veronica Geng; Bruce Springsteen advances

Personally, I’d rather hear Dorothy Parker, but I had to go with Dalton’s pitch: Ah, but Dorothy Parker is actually from New Jersey. In fact, both Bruce and Dorothy are members of the official New Jersey hall of fame ( Both were born in Long Branch, NJ. But Bruce is backed up (literally) by another […]