Thinking, Fast and Slow Chapters 14 and 15


In Chpaters 14 and 15 Kahneman focus on two main experiments and some follow ups on those experiments.

The first is called Tom W. because it describes someone based on what it calls an unreliable test he took and then asks participants to choose what career he has from many choices.  Participants choose a career whose stereotypicla member has the traits Tom W. Showed on the test even though the test was described as unreliable and there are far more people in some of the other careers listed.  People choose the story that fits, Representativeness, over statistical frequency, base rate.  He mentions how in the story Moneyball Billy Beane uses this to his advantage by ignoring the representativeness that scouts use to judge players and instead relying more on statistics.

In  a second experiment, the Linda experiment, people claimed it was more likely Linda was a feminist bank teller rather than a bank teller after hearing a story about her.  This of course is not possible since feminist bank tellers are a subset of bank tellers.  Similar experiments have shown that people use average as well as total value when assigning price.  A set of dishes with more intact pieces, but some broken pieces usually gets assigned a higher value than an intact set with fewer pieces.  Adding a low value baseball card to a set of valuable cards decreases the value of the set.

I guess I already knew about representativeness.  Stories and metaphors are important to teaching.  It is perhaps strange to use representativeness to convey some knowledge while on a grander scale trying to get students to use system 2 and quantitative sense to override representativeness in general.  I guess I can use the Less is More paradox if I design a basket for one of the many fundraisers the campus has each year.

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