Making predictions is one of the hallmarks of science, but the extent to which behavioral and social scientists, and lay people can accurately predict societal phenomena and what processes guide their reasoning is unknown. Using the COVID-19 pandemic as a naturalistic experiment, I founded the Behavioral and Social Science Forecasting Collaborative to understand processes guiding scientists’ ex ante forecasts for phenomena of broad societal relevance and which have been theoretically linked to pathogen threat.

In a forecasting tournament, scientists and lay people received standardized past data and submitted monthly forecasts for a year after the initial peak of the pandemic in the US, with an opportunity to update forecasts based on new data six months later.


Everyone Was Wrong on the Pandemic’s Societal Impact. Foreign Policy. 2021. [link]
Behavioral scientists and laypeople misestimate societal effects of COVID-19. PsyArXiv. [link]