Overconfidence and Confirmation Bias in Business Decisions

January 17, 2018

Presented by a collaboration of the SDG Decision Education Center and our academic partner, Wharton Executive Education


Researchers have identified hundreds of cognitive biases that routinely limit rational thinking, distort behavior, and derail decisions. Overconfidence is particularly pervasive in business environments. Many business leaders believe they are naturally gifted decision makers by virtue of the fact that they have risen so far in their careers. Confirmation bias, where we tend to seek information that confirms what we already believe, additionally distorts decision making.

Together, overconfidence and confirmation bias are the cause of many decision failures.

In this webinar, Barbara Mellers, a Wharton professor who studies the factors that influence judgment and decisions, will discuss how to recognize overconfidence and confirmation bias as predictable aspects of human nature, and will explore interventions and practices to keep them in check. She is joined by Carl Spetzler, an author and consultant who has spent the last few decades developing a robust process for business decision making. You will learn how to avoid overconfidence and confirmation biases so you can lead your teams to smarter, better decisions.

This webinar is presented by Wharton Executive Education and Strategic Decisions Group, who have collaborated to offer the Strategic Decision and Risk Management certificate program for executives and business leaders. This certificate offers mid-career professionals the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills with a focus on making decisions under uncertainty.

Barbara Mellers
Dr. Barbara Mellers is the I. George Heyman University Professor, Professor of Psychology and Professor of Marketing. With appointments in the School of Arts & Sciences and the Wharton School, Mellers works at the intersection of decision-making science, behavioral science, consumer behavior, and human beliefs and forecasts.

Carl Spetzler
Carl Spetzler is an author, speaker, and business leader who over the past 40 years has helped guide corporations to create to create innovative new strategies that deal with the complexities of risk and uncertainty over long time horizons. He is the lead author of Decision Quality: Value Creation from Better Business Decisions (Wiley, 2016).


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