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westKEYNOTE: The Slippery Slope of Inconclusive Decisions

Jun 5, 2023 09:06 AM - 10:15 AM, Itiel Dror, Other, Keynotes

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Inconclusive decisions –‘deciding not to decide’– are decisions! Sometimes such inconclusive decisions are justified, reflecting that the data do not justify any other decision (as well as reflecting good meta-cognitive judgement in recognizing limited abilities). However, in contrast, sometimes inconclusive decisions are wrong, as the data allow to justifiably draw a conclusion (e.g., a match or an exclusion). Hence, inconclusive decisions can be correct decisions (when the evidence is inconclusive), but they can also be incorrect decisions (when the evidence is not inconclusive). Nevertheless, many error rate studies do not consider inconclusive decision as possible errors, which is especially problematic as they do not include any inconclusive evidence as test items in their error rate studies. What and when evidence is inconclusive, and when inconclusive decisions are justified (or not) needs to be highlighted and properly dealt with.