Psych Tests

Two test questions from Michael Lewis’s The Undoing Project (184-5, 192-3).

Q. In a family of six children, which birth order is more likely? BBBGGG or GBBGBG?

A. Most say the latter, but they are equally probable, equally random. People have a mental model of “randomness,” and the second matches it better than the first.

Q. One group was asked to estimate the product of 8 x 7 x 6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1. Another group was asked to estimate the product of 1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 5 x 6 x 7 x 8.

A. The first group’s median answer was 2,250; the second group’s was 512. The answer is 40,320. Using 8 as a starting point tricked people into thinking the number was big (though not as big as it actually was). Starting with 1 tricked them into estimating small. Kahneman and Tversky calls this “anchoring”: Our guesstimates are affected by starting points, even when they are not relevant to the question at hand.

"Our conversation has blundered into the weeds. I don’t much care to rehash Civics 101.The ..."

Here Comes the Judge
"I don't think you can say that the US Supreme Court has never relied upon ..."

Here Comes the Judge
"You have something to say? Then say it. I don't know how to explain it ..."

Here Comes the Judge
"No, I asked the question to prove that you don't know what you're talking about ..."

Here Comes the Judge

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!