Reducing Overconfidence in the Interval Judgments of Experts

Reducing Overconfidence in the Interval Judgments of Experts Elicitation of expert opinion is important for risk analysis when only limited data are available. Expert opinion is often elicited in the form of subjective confidence intervals; however, these are prone to substantial overconfidence. We investigated the influence of elicitation question format, in particular the number of steps in the elicitation procedure. In a 3‐point elicitation procedure, an expert is asked for a lower limit, upper limit, and best guess, the two limits creating an interval of some assigned confidence level (e.g., 80%). In our 4‐step interval elicitation procedure, experts were also asked for a realistic lower limit, upper limit, and best guess, but no confidence level was assigned; the fourth step was to rate their anticipated confidence in the interval produced. In our three studies, experts made interval predictions of rates of infectious diseases (Study 1, n = 21 and Study 2, n = 24: epidemiologists and public health experts), or marine invertebrate populations (Study 3, n = 34: ecologists and biologists). We combined the results from our studies using meta‐analysis, which found average overconfidence of 11.9%, 95% CI (3.5, 20.3) (a hit rate of 68.1% for 80% intervals)—a substantial decrease in overconfidence compared with previous studies. Studies 2 and 3 suggest that the 4‐step procedure is more likely to reduce overconfidence than the 3‐point procedure (Cohen's d = 0.61, (0.04, 1.18)). http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Risk Analysis Wiley

Reducing Overconfidence in the Interval Judgments of Experts

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© 2009 Society for Risk Analysis
ISSN
0272-4332
eISSN
1539-6924
D.O.I.
10.1111/j.1539-6924.2009.01337.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Elicitation of expert opinion is important for risk analysis when only limited data are available. Expert opinion is often elicited in the form of subjective confidence intervals; however, these are prone to substantial overconfidence. We investigated the influence of elicitation question format, in particular the number of steps in the elicitation procedure. In a 3‐point elicitation procedure, an expert is asked for a lower limit, upper limit, and best guess, the two limits creating an interval of some assigned confidence level (e.g., 80%). In our 4‐step interval elicitation procedure, experts were also asked for a realistic lower limit, upper limit, and best guess, but no confidence level was assigned; the fourth step was to rate their anticipated confidence in the interval produced. In our three studies, experts made interval predictions of rates of infectious diseases (Study 1, n = 21 and Study 2, n = 24: epidemiologists and public health experts), or marine invertebrate populations (Study 3, n = 34: ecologists and biologists). We combined the results from our studies using meta‐analysis, which found average overconfidence of 11.9%, 95% CI (3.5, 20.3) (a hit rate of 68.1% for 80% intervals)—a substantial decrease in overconfidence compared with previous studies. Studies 2 and 3 suggest that the 4‐step procedure is more likely to reduce overconfidence than the 3‐point procedure (Cohen's d = 0.61, (0.04, 1.18)).

Journal

Risk AnalysisWiley

Published: Mar 1, 2010

References

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