Because our work is applied, it is by nature interdisciplinary. We work directly with subject matter experts (SME) to understand decision-making in context as well as the role and sources of uncertainty in each domain.
We work closely with atmospheric scientists and statisticians exploring a wide range of questions related to calculating and communicating weather forecast uncertainty. The benefit of this collaboration from the behavioral science perspective is that it sharpens the questions we ask and ensures the ecological validity of the stimuli we test. The stimuli we use are actual forecasts and observations with all of the relevant characteristics of real weather phenomena. This is particularly important when studying people’s understanding of something for which they have vast prior experience, like the weather. If the stimuli contradict prior experience, even subtly, it may have an unintended influence on people’s responses and invalidate research results. Presentation formats that demonstrate optimal decision-making and understanding in the experimental phase are incorporated in the operational weather forecast website Probcast.