Think You’re Rational?

You’re not.

That might be putting it a bit strongly. Too bad. Human beings are plagued with irrationality, and if you don’t believe me, well, it’s probably good to not to take my word for a whole lot. Let’s instead exchange likelihood ratios in the comments. That wasn’t a come-on, I promise.

If you really believe that humans aren’t irrational, or that in particular, you’re immune, you won’t mind making that belief pay rent.

So if your birth date (the day of the month on which you were born) is odd, click on this link: Rationality Quiz A

If it’s even, click on this link: Rationality Quiz B

Please try to take the quiz in full faith, and only take one.

They shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes at the very most. Then come back and share your answers, thoughts, analysis, criticisms and guesses as to what exactly those questions were trying to suss about about common causes of human irrationality.

Next post, which will be up in just a few days, will go over the quiz, what the answers are, and the research behind these types of human irrationality. I’ll also be sharing some gems from when I gave this quiz to a highly specialized focus group a.k.a. The Secular Alliance at the University of Chicago

2 thoughts on “Think You’re Rational?

  1. Reed says:

    soooo…how does this test rationality, as opposed to skill with math? And how are you gauging the incentives that people are rationally (or irrationally) acting towards? For instance, unless I was incentivized by having other people acknowledge how rational I am, the "rational" move would be to not spend 10 minutes doing a test that will either tell me something I already know or cause me to spend more time finding arguments for why the test is flawed.

  2. Strangelet says:

    Your first point is definitely a good one, although as I'll make clear in the follow-up to this post, I really don't think much math is required. Understanding probability isn't really about whether or not you can do the multiplication, it's about understanding what numbers are relevant and in what fashion, even if only qualitatively (with this kind of number, adjust estimates upward. This kind, downward).As for the latter, I generally assume that people take silly online quizzes just for fun and they often want to know how well they did. Apparently this gives people utility, so it's a rational choice for them. Is my assumption wrong?

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