John Wilcox, PhD, is an interdisciplinary researcher at Stanford University and fp21. He is also the author of the book, "Human Judgment: How Accurate Is It, and How Can It Get Better?" (Springer Nature, 2022).
Praise for "Human Judgment":
The book can be downloaded or purchased in hard copy here.
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AREAS of Specialization
Political Science & International Relations
John started his academic career in political studies, graduating top of his program and subsequently winning the Jonathan Hunt first-place prize at the University of Auckland. Since then, he has published work about politics, taught political science research methods at the University of Melbourne, and now is Research Lead at fp21. There, he focuses on improving judgment and decision-making in US foreign policymaking, particularly in organizations like the Department of State. At Stanford University, he coordinated the political theory discussion group and did research on ways of ensuring and improving the accuracy of judgments which inform political decision-making. Drawing on his research, he has given various presentations to officials in top-ranking government organizations, such as the United States' Office of the Director of National Intelligence and New Zealand's Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Selected publications in political science:
- fp21 blog-post, discussing his book's implications for foreign policymaking
- Blog-post, detailing a quantitative re-analysis of the Good Judgment dataset on geopolitical forecasting
- Political marketing case study in Jennifer Lees-Marshment's "Political marketing: principle and applications", 2nd ed (Routledge, 2014)
Cognitive Psychology & Epistemology
Much of John’s research revolves around human cognition—especially the question of how to improve human reasoning. The hope is that improving reasoning will improve decision-making and, ultimately, the quality of our lives as individuals and as a collective.
Selected publications in cognitive psychology and epistemology:
- His book "Human Judgment" (Springer Nature, 2022)
- Journal article presenting a new argument for the principle of indifference in formal epistemology
Metascience & Philosophy of Science
John also works in philosophy of science and metascience. He regularly reviews academic work for publishers such as the Cambridge University Press, the British Journal of Philosophy of Science and others, and he has made novel contributions to the philosophy of science.
Selected publications in metascience and philosophy of science:
- Stanford Encyclopedia entry on the reproducibility of scientific results, including the metascience of the reproducibility crisis
- Journal article articulating and proving new normative Bayesian constraints on scientific reasoning
Moral Psychology & Ethics
John also explores moral psychology and ethics. He is also the co-director and lead researcher at an interdisciplinary research team called The Metachangemakers Project. The project focuses on how to cultivate changemakers—that is, people with the motivation and competencies to make a positive impact on the world, to contribute to collective wellbeing and to address societal challenges.
His innovations in this space also include developing a new solution to the so-called “moral twin earth problem” in metaethics (under review).
You can learn more about metachangemaking from his team’s presentation at the first Life Improvement Science conference (to the left).