VIRTUAL TRS - The "Human Factor": Cognitive Biases, Decision-Making, and Risk Management

Amy Chen, Etha Williams
Trip date
Thursday, April 9th, 2020
Difficulty rating
Curiosity about risk and human decision-making

Have you ever made a decision that, in retrospect, fell outside your individual or group risk tolerance? Have you ever read an accident report and wondered “how could someone with so much experience and knowledge have done that”? Are you interested in understanding how human beings make decisions in higher-risk environments?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, this TRS is for you!

We will draw on research in the psychology of decision-making, risk-management, avalanche education, and outdoor leadership to explore some of the common cognitive biases and heuristic traps that derail our decision-making processes, as well as strategies to “re-rail” these processes.

We’ll talk about current research; talk through mock scenarios similar to those you may encounter in the mountains; and provide opportunities for the group to reflect on and discuss past accidents and near-misses. We will also discuss the current pandemic and how we navigate complex risks in which individual decisions have far-reaching collective consequences.

We will meet on Zoom at 7 pm EST - we'll send a link, along with a short precirculated reading, on Wednesday.


first-come, first-serve
Maximum participants
Signups opened at
April 3, 2020, 9:30 p.m.
Signups closed at
April 8, 2020, 4 p.m.
  1. What piques your interest in this topic?
  2. Is there a specific aspect of decision-making/risk-management you would especially like to see addressed?
  3. If you were to depict your attitude toward risk as an animal, what animal would that be?
Signups for this trip are closed.