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How about another meta-cognition quiz question?

About what fraction of general public gets this one correct?

Jack is looking at Anne but Anne is looking at George. Jack is married but George is not. Is a married person looking at an unmarried person? [a. Yes; b. No; c.Cannot be determined.]

Anwers--to both questions-- later today

1.          LOOKING. Jack is looking at Anne but Anne is looking at George. Jack is married but George is not. Is a married person looking at an unmarried person? [a. Yes c.  No c.  Cannot be determined.]

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Reader Comments (13)

Can you explain why you call that a "meta-cognition" quiz?

December 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Wimpy answer: much higher than the first one.

Bold (and pretty much baseless) answer (but why not play?): 55%

December 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMW

Oh, OK. So then it isn't the quiz question itself to which the descriptor of meta-cognition applies, but to the outcome of you quizzing people about the quiz question. Thanks for the clarification.

December 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

I actually got this one wrong at first; I started trying to prove it wasn't certain and realized it was as I was going through the formalities.

I'm sure that says -something- about my social prejudices :-p

December 29, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterdypoon

re: social prejudices / blindness, I got the conditional probability question but can't understand this one at all. Please post explanation.

December 30, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterconor

@Conor-- sure. We don't know if Anne is married or not. But if she is not, then a married person, Jack, is looking at an unmarried one (Anne). If, however, Anne *is* married, then a married person (Anne) is still looking at an unmarried one (George).

I'm surprised that 20% get it right -- it seems hard to me!

December 30, 2016 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Dan -

Looks like another of my comments has disappeared into the ethernet.

Let me try again:

==> I'm surprised that 20% get it right ==>

How do you quantify what percentage may have picked the correct answer by mistake, randomly, or via erroneous reasoning?

Is it possible that selecting out out of three possible responses with this question would net more "false positives" than estimating the 3 percentages in the previous question?

December 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Thanks, Dan!

Watching my brain fail logic questions amuses me. I think I got the other question (about coins) correct because I'd heard something like it before, I knew it was a "trick" question, and I forced myself to think through the possibilities. But with this question, even though I knew it was a trick question, I couldn't bring myself to think through the possibilities. The attraction of "System 1" thinking was so strong that I was unable to use System 2, even when I knew that was the point of the question.

As for metacognition, my response would be that it depends on how likely people think they are being asked a trick question. If you think this is a trick question, then you know the "obvious" answer probably isn't correct. But in my case the attraction of the "obvious" answer was so strong, I decided to write in rather than suffer the mental anguish of thinking through the (two) possibilities. So I think this question measures the distrust of people, as well as their System 1 vs. System 2 dominance.

December 30, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterconor

@Joshua-- there are ways to try to estimate guessing using IRT & even a model (3PL) which includes an estiamted guessing parameter.

But realoze that theory of test assessment is that one wants questions for which the wrong answer *seems* right to all who don't really know the answer.

In this problem, "can't be determined" is the lure or attractor; if really feels right. In fact 71% of sample chooses it. If peopole were guessing, it would be closer to 33%

December 31, 2016 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Dan -

==> If peopole were guessing, it would be closer to 33% ==>

I'm certainly not suggesting that everyone was guessing - merely that a greater likelihood of false positives, for any variety of reasons, might explain why so many more of your respondents got the right answer for this question compared to the other. It seems to me that the multiple choice format for this question could be a factor.

December 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Anne is Jack's dog.


January 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

I think I would have done better at this question before I understood how married people looking at unmarried people was supposed to be inherently scandalous.

Just like how some people are better at performing the "If P then Q; check which cards?" task when the "if-then" relationship is about a social privilege, I think this one's difficulty is related to how our brains are adapted to looking for scandal in our social groups and weighing the risks of exposing potential information.

Notice that even after you know that a married person that is looking at an unmarried person, you still can't answer this question by producing the offending couple; you cannot point to a married person that is looking at an unmarried person. The identity of the offending couple is still indeterminate, and that makes me want to answer, "it cannot be determined". What my brain really wants to communicate is my desire to look into this matter further.

When I divorce the problem from its scandalous roots, it becomes much easier for me:

There are three people standing in a line. You can't see the middle one, but you see that the one in front is a man and the one in back is a woman. Is there a man standing directly in front of a woman?

Now my brain doesn't care about any scandal and goes directly to the dichotomy on the middle person.

January 8, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterdypoon

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