John McCoy

John McCoy
  • Assistant Professor of Marketing

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    766 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
    3730 Walnut Street
    University of Pennsylvania
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: mathematical models of judgment and decision making; computational cognitive science; crowd wisdom; forecasting

Links: Personal Website


Current CV

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John McCoy is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School. His research deals with the processes underlying human judgment and decision making, and applying our knowledge of such processes to problems in marketing. Methodologically, he uses a combination of behavioral experiments and computational modeling, drawing on ideas and techniques from psychology, economics, marketing, Bayesian statistics, and computer science. Much of his current work focuses on better ways to aggregate judgments from multiple individuals, including in situations where the majority may be wrong and the truth may be unverifiable. Popular accounts of his work have appeared in places like the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and the New Yorker.


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  • Siyuan Yin, H. Arkes, John McCoy, Morris A. Cohen, Barbara Mellers (2021), Conflicting Goals Influence Physicians’ Expressed Beliefs to Patients and Colleagues, Medical Decision Making, 41 (5), pp. 505-514.

    Abstract: Background Physicians who communicate their prognostic beliefs to patients must balance candor against other competing goals, such as preserving hope, acknowledging the uncertainty of medicine, or motivating patients to follow their treatment regimes. Objective To explore possible differences between the beliefs physicians report as their own and those they express to patients and colleagues. Design An online panel of 398 specialists in internal medicine who completed their medical degrees and practiced in the United States provided their estimated diagnostic accuracy and prognostic assessments for a randomly assigned case. In addition, they reported the diagnostic and prognostic assessments they would report to patients and colleagues more generally. Physicians answered questions about how and why their own beliefs differed from their expressed beliefs to patients and colleagues in the specific case and more generally in their practice. Results When discussing beliefs about prognoses to patients and colleagues, most physicians expressed beliefs that differed from their own beliefs. Physicians were more likely to express greater optimism when talking to patients about poor prognoses than good prognoses. Physicians were also more likely to express greater uncertainty to patients when prognoses were poor than when they were good. The most common reasons for the differences between physicians’ own beliefs and their expressed beliefs were preserving hope and acknowledging the inherent uncertainty of medicine. Conclusion To balance candor against other communicative goals, physicians tended to express beliefs that were more optimistic and contained greater uncertainty than the beliefs they said were their own, especially in discussions with patients whose prognoses were poor.


All Courses

  • MKTG6110 - Marketing Management

    This course addresses how to design and implement the best combination of marketing efforts to carry out a firm's strategy in its target markets. Specifically, this course seeks to develop the student's (1) understanding of how the firm can benefit by creating and delivering value to its customers, and stakeholders, and (2) skills in applying the analytical concepts and tools of marketing to such decisions as segmentation and targeting, branding, pricing, distribution, and promotion. The course uses lectures and case discussions, case write-ups, student presentations, and a comprehensive final examination to achieve these objectives.

  • MKTG8990 - Independent Study

    A student contemplating an independent study project must first find a faculty member who agrees to supervise and approve the student's written proposal as an independent study (MKTG 899). If a student wishes the proposed work to be used to meet the ASP requirement, he/she should then submit the approved proposal to the MBA adviser who will determine if it is an appropriate substitute. Such substitutions will only be approved prior to the beginning of the semester.

  • MKTG9730 - Research Sem Mktg Part A

    This course is taught collectively by the faculty members from the Marketing Department. It is designed to expose Doctoral students to the cutting-edge research in marketing models in order to help them to define and advance their research interests. This course will offer: in-depth discussions on some important topics in marketing by experts in respective areas; tools, and methodologies required for conducting research in those areas; broad exposure to our faculty members and their proven research styles.

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