Friday, October 07, 2005

Duped and Clueless: How Easily We Fool Ourselves

Duped and Clueless: How Easily We Fool Ourselves
Surprisingly, not only were a large number of the volunteers oblivious to the switch when ultimately allowed to take a longer look at their choice, they were actually able to gave detailed explanations for why they preferred the face that, indeed, they had actually rejected.

The phenomenon that keeps marriage brokers in business.


Paul said...

Piffle. The whole experiment demonstrates that people, faced with completely irrelevant choices, choose inconsistently and then come up with "reasons" when pressed for details.

The way the test was set up, the subjects were asked to make completely hypothetical decisions, knowing there would be no consequences.

>"Therefore the concept of 'intention' needs to be reevaluated and scrutinized more closely."< ...only after the test designers can come up with a ruleset that includes an actual, desired outcome. The test, as described, makes as little sense as asking people which of seven one-dollar bills they preferred...the outcome doesn't matter, so the choices aren't exactly going to glue into the memory.

Example: Run a nearly-identical test, but at an Unemployment Office. Tell the subjects that they must choose which person (in each group of two photographs) they would prefer to interview them for a job. I predict a sharply lower-level of tested "choice blindness."

On the other hand, I'm sure most of us would be surprised by how many completely irrelevant choices we make, during the average day...but these scientists are misrepresenting the significance of their findings, if the LiveScience article is offering a fair summary.

Plan 8 said...

You have a point there, Paul. If the researchers set up the experiment so that volunteers had to sleep with their choices, we might see significantly lower "blindness." My heart goes out to the straight women volunteers in that test.