A preeminent political psychologist, Philip Tetlock applies scientific rigor from psychology and the social sciences to improve prediction methods in political, business, and other spheres. His efforts to help people get better at making forecasts and to develop data-driven methods for learning from history are widely credited with influencing the research arm of the U.S. intelligence agencies to create a four-year geopolitical forecasting tournament.
Tetlock created the first ever forecasting competition during the Cold War when he grew increasingly concerned that public debate was dominated by vague, unverifiable predictions. His book, Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?, a landmark analysis of subsequent decades of expert, often flawed geopolitical predictions, won a Woodrow Wilson prize in 2006. That work also served as a pilot for The Good Judgment Project, a prediction tournament among five universities sponsored by the U.S. intelligence community. Tetlock, along with his Penn colleague and spouse, Barbara Mellers, and his UC Berkeley colleague Don Moore, co-led that contest’s winning team, which includes experts in statistics, computer science, economics, psychology, and political science. As the competition drew to a close, the team began to adapt their methods for use by intelligence agencies – translating lessons learned as they transformed everyday citizens into super-forecasters whose prediction accuracy far exceeded analysts who had access to classified information.
Tetlock has received a National Academy of Sciences Award for Behavioral Research Relevant to the Prevention of Nuclear War and a Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the MacArthur Foundation, Tetlock publishes in journals including Psychological Review, American Political Science Review, Administrative Science Quarterly, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
His latest book, Super Forecasters, features heroes (everyday people who are super-forecasters) and villains (sanctimonious pundits who routinely get it wrong) and invites readers to join a large-scale online forecasting tournament – a novel way to widely share Tetlock’s methods to evaluate and enhance prediction accuracy.
- social psychology
- cultural psychology
- decision processes
Explore The Good Judgement Project.
Academic Writings (Selected)
Tetlock, P.E., Horowitz, M., & Herrmann, R. (2012). Should systems thinkers accept the limits on political forecasting—or push the limits? Critical Review.
Horowitz, M. & Tetlock, P.E. (2012) Trending Upward: How the intelligence community can better see into the future. ForeignPolicy.com. September 6, 2012:
Tetlock, P. E., & Mellers, B.A. (2011). Intelligent management of intelligence agencies: Beyond accountability ping-pong. American Psychologist, 66(6), 542-554.
Tetlock, P. E. (2010). Second thoughts about expert political judgment. Reply to symposium on “Expert political judgment: How good is it? How can we know?” Critical Review, 22(4), 467-488.
For a full list of Tetlock's publications, visit his SAS site.
Interviews & Features (Selected)
"The Power of Precise Predictions," The New York Times, October 2 (with J. Peter Scoblic)
"So You Think You're Smarter Than A CIA Agent?" NPR, April 02, 2014 [podcast + transcript]
"Forecasting Fox," The New York Times, March 21, 2013
"Who's Good At Forecasts?" The Economist, November 18, 2013
"More Chatter Than Needed," Washington Post, November 1, 2013
"How to Be A 'Super Forecaster,'" NPR, October 13, 2013 [podcast + transcript]
"Why Generalists May Soon Rule the Day," Inc, September 30, 2013
"Adventures in Punditry," The Economist, September 2, 2011
"Why Experts get the Future Wrong," The New York Times, March 25, 2011
"Why Most Predictions are So Bad," Forbes, March 17, 2011
"Everybody's An Expert," The New Yorker, December 5, 2005
"The World in 2014," The Economist, December 9, 2013
"Engaging Minds with Philip Tetlock and Barbara Mellers," University of Pennsylvania Alumni Lecture Series, Feb 7, 2012
"How To Win At Forecasting," Edge.org, December 6, 2012
"Prof Philip Tetlock on His Groundbreaking Research," Wharton Magazine, March 1, 2011
For a complete list of media, visit Tetlock's Wharton news page.
The Late Honorable Leonore C. Annenberg
Leonore Annenberg, HON'95 through the Annenberg Foundation, endowed the Leonore Annenberg University Professorship in 2006. The endowed chair is designated for a scholar whose work advances the interdisciplinary study and teaching of democracy and citizenship. Leonore Annenberg was an emeritus trustee and honorary degree recipient of the University. She and her late husband, Ambassador Walter Annenberg, founded the Annenberg School for Communication and the Annenberg Public Policy Center at Penn. In their long association with Penn, and consistent with their legendary philanthropic support, the Annenbergs endowed a total of 24 professorships across the University. The final Annenberg professorship was created in support of the Penn Integrates Knowledge initiative.
- Philip Tetlock was named the Leonore Annenberg University Professor of Democracy and Citizenship in December 2010.
- Ph.D., Yale University (Psychology)
- M.A., University of British Columbia
- B.A., University of British Columbia
Professional Positions & Affiliations
- The Good Judgment Project, co-leader
More About This Professor
Penn Arts & Sciences
Solomon Psychology Laboratory, C8
3720 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Department of Management
3203 Steinberg Dietrich Hall
3620 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104