Risk Intelligence

  • Dylan Evans


Risk intelligence is the ability to estimate probabilities accurately. In this context, accuracy does not imply the existence of objective probabilities; on the contrary, risk intelligence presupposes a subjective interpretation of probability. Risk intelligence can be measured by calibration testing. This involves collecting many probability estimates of statements whose correct answer is known or will shortly be known to the experimenter, and plotting the proportion of correct answers against the subjective estimates. Between 1960 and 1980, psychologists measured the calibration of many specific groups, such as medics and weather forecasters, but did not gather extensive data on the calibration of the general public. This chapter presents new data from calibration tests of over 6,000 people of all ages and from a wide variety of countries. High risk intelligence is rare. Fifty years of research in the psychology of judgment and decision-making shows that most people are not very good at thinking clearly about risky choices. They often disregard probability entirely, and even when they do take probability into account, they make many errors when estimating it. However, there are some groups of people with unusually high levels of risk intelligence. Lessons can be drawn from these groups to develop new tools to enhance risk intelligence in others. First, such tools should accustom users to specifying probability estimates in numerical terms. Second, they should focus on a relatively narrow area of expertise, if possible. Thirdly, these tools should provide the user with prompt and well-defined feedback. Regular calibration testing might fulfill all three of these requirements, though training assessors by giving them feedback about their calibration has shown mixed results. More research is needed before we can reach a definitive verdict on the value of this method.


Probability Estimate Hedge Fund Educational Achievement Calibration Test Brier Score 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of MedicineUniversity College CorkCorkIreland

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