I am interested in how people develop beliefs, formulate preferences, and arrive at judgments and decisions. In much of my research, I have tried to develop models that describe how and why people deviate from rational or normative principles of decision making. Issues of fairness, anticipated emotions such as regret, contextual effects, or response mode effects are factors that often matter to decision makers, but are not adequately represented in normative theories. I use laboratory studies to manipulate and control variables that inform us about underlying processes. I am also interested in how behavioral decision making can shape better public policy.
My current research examines ways that people can make better intuitive predictions in the domain of geopolitics. We have participated in a forecasting tournament for several years and have found that individual characteristics and situational variables (e.g., features of the prediction environment, such as training in probabilistic reasoning and collaborative teamwork) predict good performance. Tracking of the best performers has an even greater effect on performance. We are also examining methods of eliciting uncertainty, such as surveys and prediction markets. Our goal is to find out how well people can forecast the future when they are given every opportunity to achieve accuracy (i.e., constant feedback and many chances to acquire the necessary skills).
Professor Mellers will be accepting new psychology graduate students for the admissions in the Fall 2015.
Mellers, B. A., Ungar, L., Baron, J., Ramos, J., Gurcay, B., Fincher, K., Scott, S., Moore, D., Atanasov, P., Swift, S., Murray, T., & Tetlock, P. (2014). Psychological Strategies for Winning a Geopolitical Forecasting Tournament. Psychological Science, In press.
Mellers, B.,Stone, E., Murray, T., Minster, A., Rohrbaugh, N., Bishop, M., Chen, E., Baker, J., Hou, Y., Horowitz, M., Ungar, L., & Tetlock, P.(2014). Improving probabilistic predictions by identifying and cultivating “superforecasters”.
Mellers, B., Stone, E., Atanasov, P., Rohrbaugh, N., Metz, S.E., Ungar, L., Bishop, M., Horowitz, M., Merkle, E. & Tetlock, P. (2014).The psychology of intelligence analysis: Drivers of prediction accuracy in world politics, Under review.
Mellers, B.A., & Ritov, I. (2010). How beliefs influence the relative magnitude of pleasure and pain, Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 23, 369-382.
Mellers, B.A., Haselhuhn, M. Tetlock, P., Silva, J., Isen, A. (2010). Predicting behavior in economic games by looking through the eyes of the players. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 139, 743-755.
Valenzuela, A., Mellers, B.A., & Strebel, J. (2010). Pleasurable surprises: A cross-cultural study of consumer responses to unexpected incentives. Journal of Consumer Research, 36, 792-805.
Rieskamp, J., Busemeyer, J., & Mellers, B.A. (2006.) Extending the bounds of rationality: Evidence and theories of preferential choice. Journal of Economic Literature, 44, 631-661.
Arkes, H.R., & Mellers, B.A. (2002). Do juries meet our expectations? Law and Human Behavior, 26, 625-639.
Mellers, B.A., Hertwig, R., & Kahneman, D. (2001). Do frequency representations eliminate conjunction effects? An exercise in adversarial collaboration. Psychological Science, 12, 269-275.
Mellers, B.A.(2000). Choice and the relative pleasure of consequences. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 910-924.