Thanks for taking the Better Thinking quiz. Here are the answers.
The only wrong answer here is the one about the Asian criminal group, yet a full third of quiz-takers chose this incorrect option. This response is attractive to our brains because of the combined effects of the conjunction fallacy and availability bias.
The effects of Solution A & Solution B are mathematically identical. I changed the wording describing the first solution after a few dozen people had taken the quiz. For the first quiz-takers, Solution A was framed as one that “will save 20 people.”
When I used these words, 70% of quiz takers thought this was the best option.
But, for the later quiz-takers, I framed the choice as “Solution 1 will fail to save 40 patients.” Either way, 20 people live and 40 people are dead.
Yet, this simple change of phrase caused the choice to flip. Now 65% of quiz-takers thought the second solution was the better one.
When our lazy brains think about the positives (saving 20 people), we are not willing to risk the 2/3rds chance all will die. But, when our lazy brains are already facing the loss of 40 lives, the risk seems much more attractive.
If your coworkers are buying 20 tickets in a raffle, how many tickets do you need to buy to have at least a 50% chance of winning?
You also need to buy 20 tickets to have half.
When asked which was more likely (arson, lightning, or not enough information), 65% of the quiz-takers said not enough information was available. This is the only correct answer. The real purpose of this question was to find out what type of information people would want to know in order to make a decision.
I wasn't expecting this. Several people believed the shed was struck by lightning simply because the husband was the one who said so.
Finally, the last question was labeled as a “control question”. This label had no meaning for the test but was designed to encourage lazy brains to slip on their comfy pants.
This is a simple math question. One item costs $300 more than another item. Together the two items cost $400. How much does the first item cost?
I was surprised how many people missed this one—56%!
The math is easy….the only solution is for the first item to cost $350 and the second to cost $50.
So, why did so many people miss it?
Our lazy brains jump to an (incorrect) conclusion and hold onto it like grim death.
If we initially believe the right answer is $300, it takes a ton of mental effort to walk ourselves back from that choice.