Thursday, June 9, 2011

Understanding misunderstanding

The number of open browser tabs I have, slowing my old, dodgy computer, is about to force me to go on a writing spree. First off, this piece from ars Technica. There are numerous ways that people fool themselves. Probably the most common ones that I see are confirmation bias blind acceptance of something that sounds authoritative. This piece shows a couple of other ways, the first in the patterns of how we think. Assuming that that the chance of picking a sequence is equal to the chance of picking a random sequence when there is a pattern to the way people think, it's illustrated nicely with people picking random sequences of heads and tails - very few people will pick HHHHT, which as a random sequence has as much chance as any other of occurring. I must admit, I'm currently trying to figure out how that is relevant to people picking their weekly lotto numbers.

The second method of misunderstanding is more a method of being fooled. It discusses how people can be primed to give certain answers, dependant on how questions are formed. Which is basically leading the crowd. Anyone who understands how psychics go about duping their punters will have seen a variation of this before. Here it's presented in a more analytical fashion, but as far as I can see, it's of a similar bent. The whole thing is worth reading though, at least for those of us who are interested in how we work.

No comments:

Post a Comment