IDEA #44

If you can’t measure it, it’s likely to be rubbish


Statistical or mechanical predictions trump clinical or intuitive ones.

What you need to know

In 1954 the psychologist Paul Meehl published a groundbreaking book that transformed our understanding of the accuracy and nature of predictions and assessments. Meehl analysed the findings of 20 studies that compared the accuracy of clinical predictions (based on a subjective assessment of a topic, usually incorporating a wide variety of inputs – for instance, judging an essay-writing competition is largely a ‘subjective assessment’) against statistical predictions (formed from ratings ...

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