Predict the future by forgetting yourself

A good summary of Philip Tetlock‘s research:

As you might expect, these elite forecasters tended to score better on measures of intelligence than the other participants. But they all shared one other trait too: open-mindedness…Crucially, open-minded people tend to be able to see problems from all sides, which seems to help forecasters overcome their preconceptions in the light of new evidence. ‘You need to change your mind fast, and often,’ says Tetlock.

Another trait of effective forecasting that Tetlock highlights is self-awareness – understanding your own foibles…he points out that too often forecasters begin by taking an “inside view” of a problem…Yet research suggests that you could come to more accurate predictions if you instead take a step back and simply look at past historical data.

Other strategies were aimed at reducing known cognitive biases. For instance, research has shown people tend to make better decisions if they are reminded of common pitfalls, such as the tendency to exaggerate the risk of particularly frightening events, like a terrorist attack; they could also remember to consider both the best and worst case scenarios of a situation, since that opens the mind to the full range of possibilities and helps to question your basic assumptions about the event.