Yet another weird SF fan


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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Cognitive Reflection Test and a William Buckey Quote

William F. Buckley once said that he would rather be governed by the first few thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than by Harvard University. Today we can quantify that using the Cognitive Reflection Test (seen via Derek Lowe.

The Cognitive Reflection Test is a test of someone's ability to think for a second or two before jumping to a conclusion. It consists of the following three questions:

  1. A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
    5 cents

  2. If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?
    5 minutes

  3. In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake?
    47 days

The really interesting fact is that the test was given to a sample of Harvard students and to a sample of ordinary Bostonians at the Boston Fourth of July celebrations. The ordinary Bostonians did better.

4 Comments:

Blogger Milhouse said...

What is supposed to be the "obvious" answer to the first question?

4:29 AM  
Blogger chsw10605 said...

Milhouse, the answer to the first question is $0.05 and $1.05.

chsw10605

5:38 PM  
Blogger chsw10605 said...

Let's make it really easy:

1. The ball costs $0.05.
2. Five minutes. There are at least two possible routes to the same answer: Each machine takes 5 minutes to produce its widget, or five machines combine to produce one widget per minute. One hundred machines each making one widget in five minutes results from the first alternative, twenty teams of five machines with each team making one widget per minute results from the second alternative.
3. 47. If at 48 the colony covers the whole lake, and the colony doubled every time period, then the colony would cover half the lake at time period 47. This was the easiest of the three questions.

chsw

5:52 PM  
Blogger Milhouse said...

Yes, I know that, my question was what is the "obvious" answer supposed to be? Now that I read it again, I suppose the "obvious" answer is 10 cents. For some reason that didn't occur to me the first time I read it.

10:00 AM  

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