Making snap decisions: the 50:50:90 rule

Discussion in 'The Science Forum' started by Yokel, May 12, 2013.

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  1. Most of us have heard of this rule, one of Murphy's laws. However, it is obvious that the 90% figure for the number of times of picking the wrong one is an overstimate. Or is it? Have a look at this:

    Any thoughts on this? What part do biases and cognitive errors make? Why are those who make faulty decisions this way allowed to have an advantage over those who pause and make the right choice?
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2015
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  2. Trained people always revert to set procedures for obvious reasons. Maybe you don't want some people actually analysing the situation. I agree with the idea of pausing but it doesn't suit all thought processes...

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  3. But what about when there are no procedures?
  4. I never trust a man who goes to work in a boiler suit.
  5. SWAG?
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  6. Definitely not ...


    particularly as it's doesn't need fixing ... the dirty scutter!
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  7. Leave me out of this!!
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  8. Actions on, SOPs, weapon handling tests, checking a canopy after it opens, packing the chute properly in the first place, first aid, mnemonics for lesson plans?

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  9. What a brilliant approach to addressing complacency! I don't know the square root of anything about flying but it's an excellent motif for basing a safety training lesson on. I think I'll nick it :)

    "Listen to the cry of the Basenji!"
  10. Have to say, if you watch the whole session its a fantastic (and pretty humbling) briefing on male psychology.
  11. I'm not sure what waffling on about his wife has to do with it, but as far as making snap decisions and improvising is concerned isn't that what command tasks and exercises are for? Stuff goes wrong and you make do with what you have or try something else. If you've got an emergency in an aircraft then it's probably best to follow the set procedures cos you probably don't have much time to faff around thinking up ingenious new ways to fix an engine fire.

    Thinking outside the box should be encouraged in training though, apparently after WW1 when Rommel was a lecturer on infantry tactics he used to ask his students how to get some entrenched French soldiers out of a barn. When the students asked what Rommel had done he said that he took his flare gun and shot the barn with it, this caught the barn on fire and the French ran out of the barn in retreat.
  12. ...and so was born the German tactic of dealing with large amounts of people in confined spaces!

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  13. These are all procedures are they not? What happens when one encounters an unexpected problem that has not been seen before?

    My guess is that the problem is that people will have a natural tendancy to pick the first possible solution that comes to mind, without pausing to consider what might go wrong or possible alternatives. This type of snap decision making is liable to be influenced unduly by prejudices and biases.
  14. Training is designed to make certain actions instinctive but in a tight spot instincts usually take over anyway....often intuitive but fatal. An interesting paradox...pilots who ignore instruments because they contradict a feeling in the seat of their pants and crash. In some countries taxi drivers have a crucifix on the dash and believe that if the car goes out of control they must take both hands from the steering wheel and grasp the cross. In a strange world of technology that places us into circumstances that are dangerous human error becomes the greatest risk. :cool: