Webinar: Judgment and Decision-Making in Dam Engineering

This event qualifies for 2 PDH

Dam engineering is about dams, but is done by and for people. As a result, in order to achieve dam safety, we need to understand not just dams, but also the people (including ourselves) involved in designing, constructing, operating, maintaining, and benefitting from them. Social scientists have been studying people scientifically for more than a century, and we are now at a point historically where the social sciences have generated valuable insights into human thought and behavior.


The aim of this webinar is to describe key socio-psychological insights and apply them to the practice of dam engineering, with an emphasis on judgment and decision-making. We will find that judgment and decision-making are influenced by aspects such as subconscious and conscious cognition, perception, attention, memory, modes of reasoning, self-concept, use of heuristics, cognitive biases, emotions, group influences and interactions, and culture, all of which contribute to both human capability and human fallibility.


This webinar will explore all of these aspects, will illustrate them with numerous examples from dam engineering practice, and will conclude with evidence-based suggestions for how we can improve our judgment and decision-making at both individual and group levels.


Five Learning Objectives of This Course:

  • Models of the human mind, in a social context
  • Individual judgment and decision-making
  • Group judgment and decision-making
  • Ways to improve individual judgment and decision-making
  • Ways to improve group judgment and decision-making

Speaker and Presenter Information

Irfan A. Alvi, PE
Alvi Associates, Inc.
President & Chief Engineer


Irfan A. Alvi, PE is President & Chief Engineer of Alvi Associates, Inc. in Towson, Maryland. He has 30 years of multidisciplinary engineering experience for dams and other infrastructure, involving many hundreds of projects. His experience related to dams includes new design, rehabilitation design, inspection, nondestructive testing, forensic investigation, human factors, structural analysis, stability analysis, risk analysis, and construction management. His project involving rehabilitation of Prettyboy Dam in Maryland was the ASDSO 2010 National Rehabilitation Project of the Year. He is a member of the ASDSO Dam Failures & Incidents Committee, leads the committee’s efforts related to human factors, and presented an ASDSO webinar on human factors in 2015. He served as a member of the six-person independent forensic team which investigated the 2017 spillway incident at Oroville Dam, presented an ASDSO webinar on this investigation in 2018, and received the ASDSO Joseph Ellam President’s Award in 2018 for his work as a member of the forensic team.

Relevant Government Agencies

Army, Dept of Agriculture, Dept of Energy, Dept of Homeland Security, Dept of the Interior, Dept of State, Other Federal Agencies, State Government, City Government, Municipal Government, FEMA, Federal Government, State & Local Government, Foreign Governments/Agencies

Event Type

This event has no exhibitor/sponsor opportunities

Tue, Nov 10, 2020, 12:00pm - 2:00pm ET


Member:  $99.00
Non-Member:  $130.00

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Association of State Dam Safety Officials

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