Category Archives: Test and Evaluation

man drawing procedure diagram

Procedures

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Back in the days when I was active in IIE, I used to talk to Kevin McManus all the time. These days, it is all I can do to follow his great articles on Linked In Pulse. I want to share his latest one on procedures. Kevin shares some of the history of procedures and how they have evolved over the decades. My Take In my experience, we have a love/hate relationship with procedures. We recognize that they have major benefits. They help us standardize…

big data

Wisdom Beats Big Data in Health Care

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Today’s topic – wisdom in health care. John Halamka has a great article in Harvard Business Review. It is an opinion piece discussing the danger of the big data craze and how patients with their wearable devices, lifelogging software, and Google searches self-diagnose themselves into an early grave. They can’t translate the heaps of data into wisdom. The algorithms in their health care apps at best get them to the information stage, with some loose guesses on knowledge.

Using the cuff, I took my BP before and after commuting, drinking tea, and attending anxiety-provoking meetings — nearly 100 measurements in a week. The raw data were just numbers, although they helped reveal interesting information — that none of my life activities (commuting, tea drinking, work) influence my blood pressure. The problem, logged as a discrete data point in my electronic health record (EHR), turned out to be my parents.

Donald Trump and Clip Art

Symbols versus Reality in Decision Making and Behavior

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For this week’s episode of Human Factors in History, we went back into the archives to find this great study by Richard LaPiere from the 1930s. It is particularly useful to revisit studies like this one because it is unlikely that we could do anything similar today. Read on to find out why.

Hand completing a multiple choice exam.

Multiple Choice Endowment Effect

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As soon as I saw this, I had to share. Not only is it a great example of the endowment effect, it has some important advice for all of our student readers out there.

Often, you’ll hear people say that you should “trust your instincts” when making decisions. But are first instincts always the best?

Psychological research has shown many times that no, they are often no better – any in many cases worse – than a revision or change. Despite enormous popular belief that first instincts are special, dozens of experiments have found that they are not.

Man in the mirror with no identity

History of Self Delusion

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For this week’s episode of Human Factors in History, we investigated the origins of our understanding of self-delusion. This was a serendipitous discovery – I came across one of the foundational studies purely by accident. But I noticed that all of the citations in this paper were from the 1940s and 50s. That seems to be when psychology researchers took it upon themselves to find out how it works, taking it over from the philosophers who had been thinking about it for millennia.

escape room game

Escape Room Creativity Builder

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I have been voraciously reading the literature on creativity over the past year. Not the crap that comes out of the self-help literature or even in the entrepreneurship mass media. These are pretty trivial and often shortchange the science. There have been many serious research studies that have broad implications for individual and business creative output. But I am not planning on sharing that research today. That will have to wait for another day. Today I want to share a really interesting creative exercise that seems to follow (intentional or not I cannot say) some of the guidelines suggested by the research.

This exercise is the Escape Room (warning – gated). You may have seen it on an episode of the Big Bang Theory last year.

skin care cream

Beauty Industry Efficacy Bias

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When I heard the term “Beauty Industry Efficacy Bias” on the On the Media podcast also known as BIEB, I knew I had to share it with you. This is a great example of a whole set of information processing heuristics operating in the wild. Making a whole industry (really several related industries) richer in the process. And all of us a little bit poorer.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If a report presents only or primarily the benefits of a new treatment, it’s a bad report. ALL healthcare interventions have trade-offs.

female soldier

Women in Combat Duty

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I heard this story on NPR and had flashbacks to a similar debate we had decades ago with firefighters. And as with that debate, it frustrated me into a lather just as much now as it did then.

“Some people look at it as a civil rights issue,” says Dober. “I will tell you emphatically and to my grave that it’s not a civil rights issue. It’s a national security issue.”

Actually, it’s both.

Fireworks

One Year Anniversary

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In honor of the one year anniversary of EID’s relaunch (check out our first post ever here) under our new format, we thought we would copy an innovative technique used by Ta-Nehisi Coates. In addition to being a brilliant, award winning writer, he is also credited for having one of the best comment management strategies for his blog at The Atlantic magazine. One dimension of his strategy, which seems obvious on the surface but is incredibly rare, is to start with the assumption that some…

a ruler

How Deep are Your Metrics?

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An article by Ev Williams (one of the founders of Twitter) in Medium got a lot of buzz in the business world. It is amazing what a little trash talking among tech capitalists can do. But his point is really important and I want to apply it to human factors today.

My rant was the result of increasing frustration with the one-dimensionality that those who report on, invest in, and build consumer Internet services talk about success.