5A.3 Biases and Heuristics in Warning Response

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 11:00 AM
Ballroom F (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Alyssa Cannistraci, NOAA, Sykesville, MD; and K. Klockow and A. Gerard

A wide body of literature across numerous academic disciplines describes the difficulty people face when attempting to accurately predict future events as well as make judgements based on those predictions. Doing so requires a keen ability to formulate independent and unbiased decisions despite uncertainties that might be present. Decision making is of upmost importance throughout the weather enterprise. Thus, there is a foundational relationship between cognition, behavioral psychology, decision support services, risk management, and atmospheric science. This paper aims to inform the connection between social science and meteorology by determining if there is evidence of cognitive biases and heuristics in tornado warning response. Topics analyzed include the Gambler’s Fallacy and the Hot-Hand Fallacy in relation to how individuals responded to experimental tornado situations. Statistical analysis was then performed to explore the degree to which these fallacies were present. Ultimately, a discussion about this research’s significance to the weather enterprise—as well as society as a whole—will be addressed.
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