Eitan Zemel passes on this wonderful story about psychologists Kahneman and Tversky. Early in their careers, back in the 1960s, they reviewed a performance reward system used by the Israeli air force. The air force adopted a consistent policy of praising trainees who performed well on a series of maneuvers. They found, to their surprise, that performance deteriorated, on average, in this group. The other group was criticized for poor performance and typically improved.
What was going on? Did we need to rethink the laws of human behavior? Kahneman and Tversky report that graduate students suggested explanations based on overconfidence of high-performing pilots and perceptual biases of instructors. What would you say? Read the rest of this entry »