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Rankings That Rankle

8th March 2020 · 3:00pm - 4:30pm

In person | Virtual event

 Rankings That Rankle

Psychologists tell us that we are obsessed with status. Annual awards and league tables of universities, liveable cities and national happiness reflect this obsession and can be influential when people make decisions, particularly if they are maximisers. But how valid are these rankings?

Paul Goodwin will explore the mental short cuts that individuals employ to try to identify the best of the best and the paradoxes that can arise when panels and league table compilers seek to place contenders in rank order. He will argue that, in many cases, the resulting rankings suffer from spurious accuracy and in some instances they may do more harm than good.

Paul is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Bath, where he taught and researched forecasting and decision making. He has a PhD from Lancaster University and an MSc from Warwick University and he has acted as a consultant to both leading companies and government departments.

His new book Something Doesn’t Add Up: Surviving Statistics in a Post-Truth World will be available to purchase on the day.



Twitter: @PaulG00dwin

Doors 2.45pm. Start 3.00pm.

Entry £8, £5 concessions (free to Conway Hall Ethical Society members, who should book these tickets in advance via the Book Now button)

Event is subject to capacity, without exceptions. Space will be reserved for ticket holders.

This event is in the Brockway Room on the ground floor (Accessible. Induction loop audio). For accessibility info:

It is part of Conway Hall Ethical Society’s charitable programme and is tax-exempt.


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