• Question: in the future, would it be possible to predict human decision making

    Asked by Jambon to Andy, James, Mary, Wil on 15 Mar 2017.
    • Photo: Andrew Jones

      Andrew Jones answered on 15 Mar 2017:

      I dont think we will ever be able to predict it perfectly, we can use scientific models now to try and predict behaviour with varying success. However, the more we research and the more we know about decisions then the better our predictions will be!

    • Photo: Wilhelmiina Toivo

      Wilhelmiina Toivo answered on 15 Mar 2017:

      There are already some mathematical models than can predict it quite well. However, I’m not sure if we will ever be able to predict it perfectly – humans sometimes act very irrationally, and creating a model to account for that is very difficult!

    • Photo: James Gudgeon

      James Gudgeon answered on 15 Mar 2017:

      We can predict decision making right now! But there’s lots of *noise*…

      In general, we say that people, on average, *tend* to behave in a certain way under certain conditions depending on the type of experiment that we design, or the maths (or statistics) that we use to find patterns in behaviour information.

      As with all predictive models that look at relationships between different bits of information, there’s some error. Scientists impose certain constraints on the models that they suggest to explain human behaviour to try and deal with levels of error or uncertainty. So we come up with ideas that can explain the relationship between two bits of information by including a third (or fourth, or fifth) bit of information.