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November 28, 2018

Reinforcement Learning and Decision Making Conference Montreal, July 7-10, 2019.

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The 4th Multidisciplinary Conference on Reinforcement Learning and Decision Making (RLDM 2019) will be held in Montréal, Canada, from July 7-10, 2019. Workshops are a new addition to the RLDM program, and will be held on the last afternoon of the meeting, Wednesday July 10, from 1pm to 5pm.

We invite researchers interested in chairing one of these workshops to submit workshop proposals. The goal of the workshops is to encourage interdisciplinary discussion and provide an informal forum for researchers to discuss important research questions and challenges. Controversial issues, open problems, and comparisons of competing approaches are encouraged as workshop topics.

We also invite both standard and innovative/non-standard formats, such as invited oral presentations, panel discussions, data modeling challenges, hackathons, debates, and workshops aimed at improving communication between researchers from different fields rather than presenting novel research.

Workshop organizers have several responsibilities, including coordinating workshop participation and content as well as providing the program for the workshop in a timely manner.

Due to the short length of the workshops, we discourage poster sessions.

Submission Instructions

To submit a workshop proposal, please e-mail your submission to Sam Gershman (gershman at fas.harvard.edu) by 23:59 UTC on Friday, March 1st, 2019. Notifications will be provided by March 15, 2019.

Proposals should clearly specify the following:
* Workshop title and acronym if available
* A brief description of the workshop focus, emphasizing why this workshop would appeal to the diverse RLDM audience
* A short description of the format of planned activities (talks, panels, invited speakers, activities, etc.)
* A list of which invited speakers have confirmed their willingness to participate
* A list of organizers with email addresses, web page URLs

RLDM will not be able to provide travel funding for workshop speakers. In other venues, some workshops have sought and received funding from external sources to bring in outside speakers and RLDM is open to that model.

November 21, 2018

JDM Pre-Conference at SPSP Portland, Feb 7, 2019

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This is a reminder about the Judgment and Decision Making Preconference in Portland on February 7th, 2019. The JDM Preconference will explore research at the intersection of social and personality psychology and judgment and decision making research. We hope that you plan to join us there!

The deadline for poster and data blitz submissions is only a few days away on December 1st, 2018 at 11:59pm EST.

To submit a poster for consideration, please send the title of your poster, all authors, a 200 word (max) abstract, and one figure or table of data to jdmspsppreconference@gmail.com.

Selected presentations will also be given the opportunity to present a 10-minute “data blitz” talk during the preconference. To be considered for the data blitz, please indicate that the first author is student in your poster submission.

Our scheduled speakers include:

  • Craig Fox
  • George Loewenstein
  • Christopher Olivola
  • Jane Risen
  • Juliana Schroeder
  • Anuj Shah
  • Mary Steffel
  • Abigail Sussman

To register for the conference, or for more information, please visit the preconference website at: meeting.spsp.org/preconferences/judgment

Hope to see you all in Portland!

Alex Imas, David Tannenbaum, and Elanor Williams

November 14, 2018

PhD students in decision making: Apply to win the de Finetti Award

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The European Association for Decision Making’s de Finetti Award has, since 1995, recognized outstanding work by PhD student researchers in the area of decision making.

The winner will receive a prize of 750 Euros, a certificate, and be asked to make a presentation at SPUDM 2019 in Amsterdam http://www.spudm2019.com

Please see the website https://www.spudm2019.com/de-fenetti-award for information on eligibility and how to submit.


– Only PhD students who did not have their PhD at the time of the last SPUDM conference (August 2017) are eligible.

-The PhD student should be the sole or first author and the work should be mainly that of the student. If co-authored, the paper is accompanied by a signed statement (PDF) from the co-author(s) to the effect that the student is credited as the primary source of ideas and the main author of this paper;

-The paper can be either published or unpublished at the moment of submission for the de Finetti competition. There is no longer a requirement that the paper be unpublished.

– Submissions in dissertation format will not be considered, but articles based on a dissertation are encouraged.

– Only one paper may be submitted per applicant;

– There will be blind review. Applicants are asked for two versions of the submitted paper: an anonymous and a non-anonymous version.

– The anonymous version should be formatted as a manuscript (i.e., not a published journal article) with figures and tables integrated into the text. Please remove with names, affiliations, and author notes removed for blind review.

– The non-anonymous version should contain names, affiliations, and author notes and can be formatted however the author chooses.

The papers will be evaluated by a committee appointed by the Board of EADM consisting of Tim Pleskac (chair), Johann Majer (previous award winner), Ellen Peters, Tim Rakow, Tomás Lejarraga, Ilana Ritov.

To be considered for this award, papers and statements should be submitted before Friday, March 29, 5:00 PM Central U.S. Daylight Time. Please submit the papers at this link: https://kusurvey.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eanKRMTwn9EdECF

Winners will be notified by early June 2019.

Please contact Tim Pleskac (pleskac at ku.edu) with any questions.

November 5, 2018

Reflections on the review process

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After 13 years of editing journals (Journal of Marketing, International Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Service Research), Roland Rust wrote up some of his thoughts on the review process. We quote here some bits we found interesting. You can read the full article here: Reflections on the review process

Observation #1: there are too many review rounds

I was having dinner last week with a professor from one of the world’s leading universities who was discussing a paper he has had under review for five years at one of the field’s leading journals. The paper recently received yet another risky revision decision in the fourth round. Such delay, although no doubt well-intentioned on the part of the editor, harms the field, because it slows down the diffusion of knowledge. I would be willing to bet that 90+% of the paper’s current (and eventual) value was present in the initial submission.

To combat this problem, some journals have attempted to institute a 2-round policy. The idea is that the paper should achieve at least conditional acceptance in the second round. Such a policy may have unintended consequences. Given that the top journals all have very high standards for rigor, the only papers that will make it through in two rounds are papers that are already highly-polished in the initial submission, and only “safe” papers that are exploring standard topics in standard ways will have a chance.

Observation #2: perfection is valued more than timeliness

The example I gave previously shows the downside of this value system. If it takes 4–5 years to get a paper through the review process, there is no way that the marketing literature can respond in a timely way to fast-moving topics. The Computer Science field combats this by counting proceedings papers more than journal articles, and making fast decisions on those proceedings papers. By marketing’s standards, the CS review process seems “fast and loose.” But at least it is fast, and timely work can surface quickly. By contrast, the marketing literature always seems several years behind.

My serial co-author Preston McAfee told me about a journal he worked with that had a no revision policy. I believe the idea is that you send the paper in and it either gets a) rejected b) accepted conditional on making certain changes. If there were more journals like this, time would be saved by authors, reviewers, editors and support staff.

I have heard of professors that urge their students to take shoddy work and “just send it in,” planning to win over the reviewers over multiple rounds of review. There’s an incentive not to do this when you know that your paper will either be in or out.

Since I moved to industry labs, I’ve published more and more in Computer Science. In CS, conference proceedings, not journals, are the important things. You get tenure for publishing in conference proceedings, which can be as or more selective than the top journals in marketing or psychology. The conference proceeding model works as follows. You submit a manuscript. You get reviews. You write a reply to the reviewers (without revising the paper). You then get a) rejection or b) conditional acceptance. Every process has its tradeoffs. CS certainly publishes a number of “reinventions” and flawed analyses, but the upside is that it tends to capture all the good stuff. The crud gets ignored and the good ideas get built upon. It’s hard to argue that psych and marketing are making more cumulative progress than computer science is.

Recommendation #1: accept papers quicker

If there is a timeliness value for ideas, then editors need to recognize that getting that last 1% of rigor may result in a net loss of value. This means that it is often best for the editor to take a stand and accept a paper before everybody on the review team signs off. This means that we need to appoint editors who are secure in their standing in the field, and who are strong enough to make decisions that some AE’s or reviewers may disagree with.

Higher recall but slightly lower precision is the gist of the CS model.

Recommendation #2: editors need to be the importance police

Given the tendency of reviewers to simply attack papers and produce a list of problems, the editor needs to counteract the reviewers’ almost exclusive focus on rigor by insisting on problem importance. This can also sometimes mean rejecting an unimportant paper for which the reviewers find few problems. It can also mean giving a paper more of a chance if it is on an important topic. I recommend that papers on important and timely topics should be consciously given more slack with respect to expectations of rigor.

Hard to know important when you see it, though.

Recommendation #3: editors need to be willing to overrule the review team

In my view, a good editor respects the review team, but sees the reviews as advisory. The review decision should not be a vote count. In many cases I have given a paper a second round, even with a unanimous negative appraisal by the review team, if the paper was on a very important and timely topic. I have not overridden a unanimous rejection recommendation in the second or later rounds, because it is incumbent on the author(s) to eventually persuade somebody, but otherwise I have not let a negative reviewer stop a paper, if the paper is important enough, and the negative reviewer has not revealed what I believed to be a fatal flaw. Again, the editor needs to be secure enough to make such determinations.

Agreed: Just as you shouldn’t take a vote of a three-person focus group to decide to launch a product, you shouldn’t use the vote of three reviewers to decide on a paper.

Image source: https://flic.kr/p/nCcSpm

October 29, 2018

Postdoc and Internship in Computational Social Science at Microsoft Research New York City

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Postdoc in Computational Social Science at Microsoft Research New York City

The Computational Social Science group at Microsoft Research NYC is actively seeking a qualified postdoctoral researcher to join us in advancing the state-of-the-art in computational social science and online experimentation. The ideal applicant will be quantitatively oriented, possess awareness of the theoretical and experimental social science literature, and have experience with experimental design, as well as significant computer programming expertise.

• PhD in computer science, statistics, mathematics, and/or a related quantitative social science field
• Completion of upper level (undergraduate) and/or graduate level coursework involving computer programming
• Research agenda that overlaps with computational social science group
• Participation and activity in the scientific community
• Strong communication skills
• The ability to work in a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary environment

Application deadline: December 11, 2018.

The application is at


Please list the name Dan Goldstein as a contact in the application.


PhD student Internship in Computational Social Science (focus on Natural Language Processing) at Microsoft Research New York City

PhD students with computational skills in natural language processing are sought for a paid 12 week internship at Microsoft Research New York City. This internship must start no later than Feb 15, 2019 and end before May 30, 2019. If you are qualified but can only do a summer internship, please contact Dan Goldstein (dgg at microsoft dot com).

Application deadline: December 1, 2018.

The application is at


Please list the name Dan Goldstein as a contact in the application.

October 26, 2018

The SJDM Newsletter is ready for download

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The Society For Judgment and Decision Making is pleased to announce that the current newsletter is ready for download:


This one has the 2018 Program in it. And all the abstracts. You could read it like a book. I know I did.

See you in New Orleans Nov 16-19!

October 18, 2018

Why you should go to the SJDM conference whether or not you have a paper accepted

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NEW ORLEANS, NOV 16-19, 2019

The Society for Judgment and Decision Making (SJDM) Annual conference will be held in New Orleans, LA, Nov 16-19, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. The details are here: http://sjdm.org/

Here is why SJDM is our favorite conference:

  • The quality of the accepted papers is high. See for yourself here.
  • It’s limited to only three tracks which means when you meet someone at a coffee break, you should be able to discuss a talk you have both seen.
  • It’s limited to accept only 100 papers so it’s not overwhelming.
  • Over 700 people attend which means you will be able to catch up with lots of people in the field.
  • It’s really affordable. Advance registration was $300 for faculty and $150 for students.
  • JDM research is rigorous. The current methods revolution was started by JDM scholars.

We go to SJDM even when we don’t have a presentation accepted there. Lots of people do. We recommend that you do too.



October 10, 2018

Advances in Decision Analysis Conference at Bocconi University, Milan, June 19-21, 2019

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What: Advances in Decision Analysis Conference
Where: Bocconi University, Milan
When: June 19-21, 2019

Conference website: http://connect.informs.org/das/conferences#ADA2019

The Advances in Decision Analysis conference aims to bring together scientists working in decision analysis, broadly defined. The conference will provide a platform for interdisciplinary discussions and will include talks by researchers in decision analysis, behavioral economics, judgment and decision-making, machine learning, statistics, and other related disciplines with a prescriptive focus.

KEY DATES (preliminary)
January 10, 2019: Deadline for abstract submission
January 30, 2019: Abstract acceptance
May 1, 2019: Final date for abstract changes
May 19, 2019: Early registration deadline & refund deadline

To learn more or submit an abstract, see the conference website

October 2, 2018

Lucky streaks put into perspective

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Click to enlarge

The twitter account Maths Ed Ideas took one of our old posts and put it into perspective.

We love it!

Note: Since it’s now after Sept 29, you’re even more than 99% likely 🙂

September 26, 2018

Professorship in Behavioral Science at University of Chicago’s business school

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The University of Chicago Booth School of Business is seeking to appoint outstanding scholars to the tenure-track position of Assistant or Associate Professor of Behavioral Science beginning in the 2019-20 academic year. We will consider candidates with interests in the areas of decision-making, negotiations, social psychology and organizations, all broadly defined. Candidates must have earned a PhD (or equivalent) or expect to receive a doctorate in the near future.

We are looking for candidates with strong disciplinary training in any of the social sciences who can use that discipline background to conduct research on aspects of behavior relevant to management in organizations and to introduce MBA students to behavioral science principles. This position is part of the Behavioral Science area, whose members are responsible for teaching courses such as Managing in Organizations, Managerial Decision Making, Power and Influence, and Negotiations. Candidates should be qualified to teach at least one of these courses plus another MBA elective. The group maintains two well-equipped laboratories for experimental research.

The deadline for applications is March 31, 2019. However, we will begin formally reviewing applications on October 17, 2019 and strongly encourage applicants to submit a complete set of materials by this time. To apply, please submit a research and teaching statement, a vita, a written sample of your present work, and two letters of reference at:

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law.

For additional information, please see the University’s Notice of Nondiscrimination at https://www.uchicago.edu/about/non_discrimination_statement/. Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-834-5286 or email hr@lists.chicagobooth.edu with their request.