Scientists, data analysts and actuaries can struggle to influence decision-making where strongly held political beliefs or membership of an identity group is threatened by their findings. Examples include: climate change, the disposal of nuclear waste and gun control.
To fulfil their roles, actuaries need to be heard when the objective interpretation of data contradicts commonly held beliefs, such as business planning assumptions, the expected development of claims, and the assessment of underwriting or reserving risk in a capital model.
It might be assumed that this influence can be achieved if only people were more educated, more numerate and hence better able to interpret data. However, psychologists have carried out research that strongly challenges this assumption. Indeed: the more numerate someone is, then the more likely they are to interpret data in a way that supports their prior held political or membership-defining belief, even when an objective analysis of the data contradicts this.
Our talk will explain the design of the research, its results and conclusions. Learning from this, we will then explore how to better influence decision-making, with the aim of helping the businesses you advise make the best use of their data. No prior knowledge is required.