To illustrate the ladder of inference, please create a simulation where groups have to make a choice with limited data and time, and then give them more data and more time to see if they would have made a different choice.

To create a simulation that illustrates the Ladder of Inference, we can design a two-phase decision-making activity. Here's a step-by-step outline of how the simulation could be structured:

Phase 1: Initial Decision with Limited Data and Time

  1. Scenario Introduction:

    • Present the groups with a scenario that requires a decision to be made. This scenario should be complex enough to have multiple layers of data that can be revealed over time, but initially, provide only a limited set of information.
    • For example, the scenario could involve a business decision, such as choosing a marketing strategy for a new product launch with limited customer data.
  2. Time Constraint:

    • Give the groups a short time frame to make their decision, such as 5 minutes. This will force them to rely on heuristics and potentially trigger biases as they quickly gather and interpret the data.
  3. Decision-Making:

    • Groups discuss the scenario using only the data provided and come to a consensus on their choice.
    • They should document their decision-making process, noting the data they focused on, the interpretations they made, and the theories and beliefs that guided their decision.
  4. Reflection:

    • After making their decision, ask the groups to reflect on the process. What data did they select? How did they interpret it? What assumptions may they have made?

Phase 2: Revised Decision with Additional Data and Time

  1. Additional Data:

    • Provide new data that was not available during the initial decision-making phase. This data should be relevant and potentially challenge the groups' original decision or assumptions.
  2. Extended Time Frame:

    • Now, give the groups more time to incorporate this new data into their decision-making process, such as 15-20 minutes.
  3. Revised Decision-Making:

    • Groups revisit their initial decision in light of the new data. They should discuss how the new information affects their previous theories and beliefs and whether it changes their initial choice.
  4. Final Reflection:

    • Have the groups reflect on how the additional data and time altered their decision. Did they change their choice? How did the new data impact their interpretation and conceptualization?
  5. Debriefing:

    • Facilitate a debriefing session where groups share their experiences. Discuss the influence of cognitive biases, the importance of questioning assumptions, and the value of seeking out missing data.

Throughout the simulation, encourage participants to be mindful of the Ladder of Inference's steps: selection, interpretation, conceptualization, and action. Emphasize the Reflexive Loop, where existing beliefs influence the selection of data, often reinforcing those beliefs. The simulation should reveal how initial decisions can be confidently made with incomplete information and how additional time and data can lead to reevaluation and potentially different choices.

By applying the principles from the Ladder of Inference, participants in this simulation can learn to become more aware of their thinking (reflection), make their reasoning more visible (advocacy), and inquire into others' reasoning (inquiry), as suggested by Rick Ross. This exercise can also highlight the importance of cognitive reappraisal in emotion regulation and the need to manage mental control and emotions during decision-making processes.