Education Increases Decision-rule Use: An Investigation of Education and Incentives to Improve Decision Making

Marvin Neumann*, Martijn Hengeveld, A. Susan M. Niessen, Jorge N. Tendeiro, Rob R. Meijer

*Corresponding author for this work

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Robust scientific evidence shows that human performance predictions are more valid when information is combined mechanically (with a decision rule) rather than holistically (in the decision-maker’s mind). Yet, information is often combined holistically in practice. One reason is that decision makers lack knowledge of evidence-based decision making. In a performance prediction task, we tested whether watching an educational video on evidence-based decision making increased decision-makers’ use of a decision rule and their prediction accuracy immediately after the manipulation and a month later. Furthermore, we manipulated whether participants earned incentives for accurate predictions. Existing research showed that incentives decrease decision-rule use and prediction accuracy. We hypothesized that this is the case for decision makers who did not receive educational information about evidence-based decision making, but that incentives increase decision-rule use and prediction accuracy for participants who received educational information. Our results showed that educational information increased decision-rule use. This resulted in increased prediction accuracy, but only immediately after receiving the educational information. In contrast to the existing literature, incentives slightly increased decision-rule use. We did not find evidence that this effect was larger for educated participants. Providing decision makers with educational information may be effective to increase decision-rule use in practice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of experimental psychology-Applied
Early online date17-Jun-2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17-Jun-2021

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