Congratulations Mike Smithson and Yiyun Shou on ARC Discovery Success

17 December 2019

This project aims to identify the nature and determinants of human attitudes towards uncertainty arising from conflicting information (conflictive uncertainty).

Conflictive uncertainty is ubiquitous, but its effects are little understood. Understanding conflictive uncertainty attitudes and their causes can yield improved decision making in many domains, enabling decision makers to avoid inappropriate risk-aversion, pessimism, and loss of trust that occur under conflictive uncertainty. Improved strategies for decision making under conflictive uncertainty will enhance the management of negotiations, debates, policy formation, and conflict resolution.

The aims will be achieved via the development and validation of a measure of attitudes toward conflictive uncertainty, and studies identifying major intrapersonal and situational influences thereof. No such measure exists, and little is known about conflictive uncertainty other than that people find it aversive. Outcomes and benefits include knowledge of how conflictive uncertainty attitudes relate to risk and uncertainty orientations, effects of personality and situation on such attitudes, and development of strategies for decision making in the face of conflictive uncertainty.