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Bias in Science and Communication

A field guide
Dr Matthew Welsh


Bias is a natural outcome of our thinking patterns. The nature of our cognitive processes leads to inherent limitations, resulting in predictable biases in both our own judgements and the interpretation of our communications by the public, by policymakers and even other scientists. This book will introduce the concept of biases arising from cognitive limitations and tendencies with a focus of the implications of this for scientists in particular. It begins with an initial quiz designed to demonstrate key biases – allowing readers to look back at the responses that they provided prior to reading about specific biases and thus see, without the impact of hindsight bias, whether they were susceptible to the effects.

About Editors

Matthew Welsh is a psychological scientist specialising in decision-making. His primary area of research is in decision-making under uncertainty, particularly as it relates to real-world problems. In his role at the Australian School of Petroleum, he researches how people's decision-making tendencies impact the choices that they make and the economic flow-on effects of this for industries such as oil and gas, which depend on expert judgement and estimation to reduce uncertainty. He teaches into the Australian School of Petroleum's decision-making courses at honours and master's levels; and into the School of Psychology's master's in organisational psychology.

Table of Contents

Part I: Introduction
1. Pop Quiz
2. Anchors Aweigh
3. On Message
Part II: Biases in Judgement and Decision Making
4. Improbable Interpretation
5. Truth Seeking? Biases in search strategies
6. Same but Different
7. I'm Confident, You're Biased
8. Subtotal Recall
9. Angels and Demons
10. Us and Them
Part III: Implications and solutions
11. Warp and Weft
12. Felicitous Elicitation
13. A River in Egypt
Part IV: Conclusions
14. The Field Guide


Hardback ISBN: 9780750313124

Ebook ISBN: 9780750313117

DOI: 10.1088/978-0-7503-1311-7

Publisher: Institute of Physics Publishing


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