Graham Duncan on Evaluating Expertise

Notes on the expertise of evaluating expertise, from someone who's obsessed with it.

Originally published 08 December 2021, last updated 09 December 2021.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I think one of the things that I didn’t mention in this piece, but that I’ve been thinking about, is how good people judgment is very much not coming to conclusions about them too quickly. Instead you want to form a model of the person over time, after watching them over a period of months or years.

I’ve noticed that people who don’t do well with people judgment tend to come to conclusions about the person rather quickly, and then (thanks to fundamental attribution error) find it difficult to update their model.

On the other hand, the problem with my approach is that it takes too damn long. You form an accurate judgment of a person, but it takes years.

Duncan’s methods appeal to me because they shortcut this somewhat. You go to people who’ve known the person you’re interested in for years, and then you master the art at getting an accurate model of the person out of their heads. This seems much, much faster than building the model yourself, through long observation.