UCL School of Management

Research project

Perception and judgment of performance


No matter what domain, the judgment of performance occupies a key area of investment. Experts are trained and societal institutions are constructed to identify, develop, and reward the highest levels of achievement. We trust that professionals can judge performance through their specialized knowledge. Yet, experts are just as vulnerable as novices to the dominance of visual information (vision heuristic) and the influence of beliefs about the source of achievement on the perception and judgment of talent (naturalness bias). Given their effect on professional evaluation and decision-making, such biases can affect how organizations select and recruit top talent.


The implications of these findings extend to any context that calls for the professional judgment of performance. When professional decisions involve other information that are actually more predictive of performance, the research suggests that we must be more mindful of our inclination to depend on certain types of information at the expense of the content that we actually value as more relevant to our decisions, as such dependence may not lead to wise decisions and good long-term investments in selecting, promoting, and rewarding talent. 

Selected publications

Tsay, C. J., & Banaji, M. R. (2011). Naturals and strivers: Preferences and beliefs about sources of achievement. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47 (2), 460-465. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2010.12.010 [link]
Tsay, C. -. J. (2013). Sight over sound in the judgment of music performance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110 (36), 14580-14585. doi:10.1073/pnas.1221454110 [link]
Tsay, C. -. J. (2014). The vision heuristic: Judging music ensembles by sight alone. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 124 (1), 24-33. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2013.10.003 [link]

Link to the publication’s UCL Discovery page

Last updated Saturday, 26 July 2014


Research groups

Organisations & Innovation

Research areas

Social psychology of organizations

Research topics

Bounded rationality; Communication; Creative industries; Creativity; Decision analysis; Emotions; Entrepreneurship; Expertise; Group dynamics; Group processes; Judgment and decision making; Leadership; Operational transparency; Performance; Social cognition