Experts predict no better than non-experts

Louis Menand reviews the book “Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?” by Philip Tetlock, a psychologist at Berkeley. His research asserts

that people who make prediction their business—people who appear as experts on television, get quoted in newspaper articles, advise governments and businesses, and participate in punditry roundtables—are no better than the rest of us.

In fact, Tetlock says that the best known experts are worse than the average person on the street in making predictions. As Menand writes,

The experts’ trouble in Tetlock’s study is exactly the trouble that all human beings have: we fall in love with our hunches, and we really, really hate to be wrong.

Just like the other psychological study that found that staunch Democrats and Republications rationalize facts away that contradict their position, Tetlock found that well-known predictors did the same, plus they also gave information supporting their position more leeway, a double whammy on predicting.

I wonder how this applies to teachers' expectations on which students will perform well in the classroom, to instructors' theoretical positions in designing curricula, and to researchers' defense of their theories.