Psychology Colloquium: Expert Bias: Perceptions, Misperceptions, and Their Implications
Tess Neal, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences Arizona State University
Do experts assume that their expertise protects them from bias? One might hope and expect experts to be more protected than the average person against various psychological biases that affect judgment and decision making, yet the evidence supporting this expectation of expert objectivity is mixed at best. Therefore, this project answers the question: Do people have too much faith in the objectivity of expert judgment? Serious consequences might result from such an illusion of objectivity. We answer questions about experts’ susceptibility to bias as well as the accuracy of people’s (and especially experts’ own) perceptions of experts’ susceptibilities. Across multiple preregistered studies with different methods and in different decision domains, we measure experts’ vulnerabilities to several biases, document laypeople and experts’ blindness to experts’ biases, and investigate the consequences of exaggerated confidence in experts’ objectivity for society. Theoretically-informed ideas for managing these problems will be discussed.
Tess Neal is an associate professor of psychology at Arizona State University and a founding faculty member of ASU’s Law and Behavioral Science Initiative. She is a scientist, a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist, and a parent of two young children. She studies the nature and limits of expertise. Her basic work focuses on understanding and improving human judgment processes – especially among trained experts, and her more applied work focuses on improving forensic experts’ judgments in particular. Her work has been funded by multiple grants from the National Science Foundation, and she has been awarded numerous research and teaching awards. She serves as editor for the Journal of Personality Assessment and Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, and as an Open Science Advisor for Clinical Psychological Science. She was selected as a Fulbright Scholar to work with Kristy Martire and others at UNSW Sydney for the Spring of 2022 on a project about how the different evidence laws of the U.S. and Australia lead to similar and different patterns of judicial decision making about psychological evidence, with the potential to inform revisions to laws governing the admissibility of expert evidence in both countries. Website: https://psych-law.lab.asu.edu/
WEBINAR LINK: https://uni-sydney.zoom.us/s/86430526873