Dr Stephen Dewitt
I am currently a Lecturer at University College London. I teach both qualitative and quantitative research methods, incorporating a Bayesian and pragmatic perspective.
I conduct research on how people reason in the real, complex and uncertain world we live in with a particular focus on confirmation bias. I use a range of mixed methods approaches as appropriate to serve the primary aim of uncovering my participants' cognitive processes / reasoning. I also previously conducted research within behaviour change, examining the most effective methods for people to introduce healthier habits into their working day.
I enjoy giving public talks on my work and recently spoke at 'Skeptics in the Pub' events in Brighton and Worthing, and have given talks at HM Land Registry on 'Optimism bias' and at Southern Water on making good decisions in groups.
Current research questions
How do humans update their estimates of propensities (e.g. for a medical patient to relapse) in light of (uncertain) new information?
How do humans make inferences based on a single observation? What is the role of prior knowledge?
Is confirmation bias an inevitable feature of reasoning in an ambiguous world?
Do the findings of classic judgement and decision making findings apply under 'second order' uncertainty?