Maybe people aren’t as stupid as psychologists think

While browsing the slides from Joshua Porter’s lecture, Leveraging Cognitive Bias in Social Design, I came across the following one, which presents the canonical example of the conjunction fallacy from Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman:

Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations.      Which is more probable?         1. Linda is a bank teller.        2. Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement.

I wonder if a better explanation for the fact that about 85% of people pick the latter option is that, rather than the second option seeming simply “more ‘representative’ of Linda based on the description of her, even though it is clearly mathematically less likely,” people assume that the first option is implicitly “Linda is a bank teller and not active in the feminist movement.”

Rather than a logical fallacy, this may just be a case of a very common misinterpretation of the question.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *