Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Cognitive dissonance will have to be reassessed

It ain't necessarily so:
The Monty Hall Problem has struck again, and this time it’s not merely embarrassing mathematicians. If the calculations of a Yale economist are correct, there’s a sneaky logical fallacy in some of the most famous experiments in psychology.

The economist, M. Keith Chen, has challenged research into cognitive dissonance, including the 1956 experiment that first identified a remarkable ability of people to rationalize their choices.
Read it all here.

Teaching Bayes Rule to MBA students a few years back I did what I thought was a rather good job of explaining to them the Monty Hall Problem. (Given the design of the problem, once you choose any door there is a two thirds chance that Monty is constrained and shows you what is behind one of the other doors because the prize is behind the door he did not reveal; you should switch to the door he did not reveal.) They were convinced I had lost my mind. At least I found out they were alive.



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