Consider the human judgment
November 8, 2011 4:07 PM Subscribe
The King of Human Error: Michael Lewis profiles Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman
In 1983—to take just one of dozens of examples—they [Kahneman and Tversky] had created a brief description of an imaginary character they named “Linda.” “Linda is thirty-one years old, single, outspoken, and very bright,” they wrote. “She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in antinuclear demonstrations.” Then they went around asking people the same question:Don't miss: The Quiz Daniel Kahneman Wants You to Fail
Which alternative is more probable?
(1) Linda is a bank teller.
(2) Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement.
The vast majority—roughly 85 percent—of the people they asked opted for No. 2, even though No. 2 is logically impossible. (If No. 2 is true, so is No. 1.) The human mind is so wedded to stereotypes and so distracted by vivid descriptions that it will seize upon them, even when they defy logic, rather than upon truly relevant facts. Kahneman and Tversky called this logical error the “conjunction fallacy.”
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