Comments on: Felix Salmon smackdown watch, misperceptions edition http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/09/felix-salmon-smackdown-watch-misperceptions-edition/ A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 By: engineer27 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/09/felix-salmon-smackdown-watch-misperceptions-edition/comment-page-1/#comment-34892 Tue, 10 Jan 2012 16:11:55 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/09/felix-salmon-smackdown-watch-misperceptions-edition/#comment-34892 @Curmudgeon: And here he is speaking at the London School of Economics:
http://www2.lse.ac.uk/newsAndMedia/video AndAudio/channels/publicLecturesAndEvent s/player.aspx?id=1251

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By: Curmudgeon http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/09/felix-salmon-smackdown-watch-misperceptions-edition/comment-page-1/#comment-34890 Tue, 10 Jan 2012 13:54:33 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/09/felix-salmon-smackdown-watch-misperceptions-edition/#comment-34890 @Greycap, I’m currently reading Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, which proposes two systems of thought. Within the instinctive “fast” system, he notes instinct based on expertise, and instinct based on heuristics. Either one could account for what you describe here. He also notes that we can revert to “slow” thinking when presented with a numeric problem of greater complexity, and that slow thinking is usually more accurate than fast (but often not timely enough).

Kahneman is a psychologist who received the Nobel in economics for his work in discrediting the notion that people think and behave rationally (that is a greatly simplistic description, of course).

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By: Greycap http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/09/felix-salmon-smackdown-watch-misperceptions-edition/comment-page-1/#comment-34889 Tue, 10 Jan 2012 13:23:26 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/09/felix-salmon-smackdown-watch-misperceptions-edition/#comment-34889 “That’s what I mean by numeracy.”

OK, I write subject to correction by knowledgeable types like Curmudgeon, but I think you have this backwards. Everyone has a gut reaction answer to numerical problems, but the thing about number problems is that you have to think about them to get them right. A numerate person isn’t someone who gets the right answer without thinking, it’s someone who’s good at thinking about number problems instead of using his gut.

So for instance, your example is easy because 2/3 of 3 is 2, and 2/4 is 1/2. That is why most people can answer “what’s 2/3 of 3/4″ quickly – the answer comes up directly. But “what’s 3/4 of 2/3″ is harder, even though it’s mathematically equivalent. A numerate person would perceive this and mentally invert the question into the easier format. Numeracy is the combination of being willing to think about what the right numerical answer really is together with a grab-bag of little tricks for making such thinking easier. The latter trait is developed by the former.

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By: Curmudgeon http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/09/felix-salmon-smackdown-watch-misperceptions-edition/comment-page-1/#comment-34888 Tue, 10 Jan 2012 11:58:48 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/09/felix-salmon-smackdown-watch-misperceptions-edition/#comment-34888 Way back when I did social psychology research, I focused on Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance, which in one form noted that if you changed behavior so that it no longer reflected belief, the belief would change to be in conformance with the behavior. Arguments rarely work, but if you could incentivize different behavior, you could change the belief.

I had used this principle come up with a reasonably good mathematical model that predicted behavior in a gaming situation, based on changing behavior using rewards offered in the game.

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By: fresnodan http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/09/felix-salmon-smackdown-watch-misperceptions-edition/comment-page-1/#comment-34885 Tue, 10 Jan 2012 09:42:01 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/09/felix-salmon-smackdown-watch-misperceptions-edition/#comment-34885 “Wouldn’t you agree?”
Yup.
How many people ever ask themselves why they believe what they believe?
It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so.
Will Rogers

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By: Danny_Black http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/09/felix-salmon-smackdown-watch-misperceptions-edition/comment-page-1/#comment-34884 Tue, 10 Jan 2012 09:36:38 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/09/felix-salmon-smackdown-watch-misperceptions-edition/#comment-34884 KenG_CA, you are absolutely correct.

Can’t state it better than this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtMX_0jDs rw&feature=related

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By: SteveHamlin http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/09/felix-salmon-smackdown-watch-misperceptions-edition/comment-page-1/#comment-34882 Tue, 10 Jan 2012 05:12:47 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/09/felix-salmon-smackdown-watch-misperceptions-edition/#comment-34882 @Irving13 – you and Felix are both right. You, on the fact that both 1-to-1,000 and billion-to-trillion are three orders of magnitude.

Felix, on the fact that on the scale that the human mind can reasonably comprehend, one versus a thousand are quite different things and people appreciate the relativeness of that difference, while a billion and trillion are both just “a lot” and the difference between those two large numbers is also “lots”. The former can be perceived as a larger difference than the latter.

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By: Irving13 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/09/felix-salmon-smackdown-watch-misperceptions-edition/comment-page-1/#comment-34880 Tue, 10 Jan 2012 00:51:42 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/09/felix-salmon-smackdown-watch-misperceptions-edition/#comment-34880 “the difference between a billion and a trillion, is much smaller, in the human mind, than the difference between 1 and 1,000″

Who is having the number problem here is the question…the difference between a billion and a trillion is by magnitude a trillion is a thousnd times bigger than a billion just like 1000 is a thousand times bigger than one. Have to wonder what human mind you are referencing.

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By: DonthelibertDem http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/09/felix-salmon-smackdown-watch-misperceptions-edition/comment-page-1/#comment-34877 Mon, 09 Jan 2012 23:38:30 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/09/felix-salmon-smackdown-watch-misperceptions-edition/#comment-34877 From my College Rhetoric Teacher: “You can’t change anyone’s mind, but you can convince them they believed something all along.”

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By: djseattle http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/09/felix-salmon-smackdown-watch-misperceptions-edition/comment-page-1/#comment-34876 Mon, 09 Jan 2012 23:33:57 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/09/felix-salmon-smackdown-watch-misperceptions-edition/#comment-34876 No! But only because you should have said: “People will vote for the person they think agrees with them…”

(Which also happens to be what I think you really meant!)

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