Error In Human Reasoning Essay

1249 words - 5 pages

Error in Human Reasoning

Although humans are the only animals that reason, we do not follow probability theory, a normative model, very closely in our everyday reasoning. The conjunction fallacy is one of the major errors that humans commit when dealing with problems that involve probability. Exemplified by Linda the feminist bank teller, this problem occurs when we assume that a conjunction of two premises is more likely than one or more of the premises alone. According to probability, the conjunction of two premises can never be more probable than either of the premises alone. In the Linda problem, the subjects are given a brief biographical description of Linda, followed by several statements about Linda's current occupation or activities. The subjects are then asked to rank the statements in order of most likely to least likely. The majority of the subjects choose "Linda is a bank teller and a feminist" (T and F) as more likely than "Linda is a bank teller." (F) (Barron, pg. 138)
According to the laws of probability, T must be more probable than the combination of T and F. Thus, the question arises as to why we reason this way. As Professor Kellman explained in his lectures, we commit this fallacy because of our association of the word "feminist" with the biographical description of Linda. Apparently, we ignore the most basic laws of probability, and rely on our ability to associate certain characteristics with likely careers and hobbies of an individual.
Ever since the original study by Tversky and Kahnerman in 1983, it has been assumed that human reasoning prefers association of terms in lieu of mathematical probabilities in these situations. There is debate, however, as to whether this is a fallacy in human reasoning or not. The original authors of the study argue that Linda's biographical description is irrelevant. Only the words "probability" and "and" are important. (Hertwig and Gigerenzer, pg. 276) Hertwig and Gigerenzer, however, argue that this is not necessarily the case. They argue that a content-blind normative model is not a proper means of assessing human reasoning, i.e. (P & Q) is never * (P v Q). Hertwig and Gigerenzer place a greater emphasis on natural language and our understanding of the term probability in this problem. Their study is a "step toward integrating content, context, and representation of information." (Hertwig and Gigerenzer, pg. 276)
Hertwig and Gigerenzer believe the word "probable" is the key to the Linda problem. In their opinion, when people read the problem as presented by Tversky and Kahneman, they did not infer the mathematical definition of the word "probable." Rather, a more casual interpretation of the word was taken, i.e. strength of argument or intensity of belief. Under this definition it is very reasonable for people to say that T and F is more probable than T. The selection of T and F to be more probable than T "creates a story." That is, they wanted to...

Find Another Essay On Error in Human Reasoning

psycho Essay

1046 words - 5 pages Introduction Social Psychology is a part of psychology, which studies human behavior in the society. Overall, this section of the science is one of the most useful parts of psychology. People have to know which variables affect their behavior and change them if they are not appropriate. In my essay I discuss three theories of social psychology such as: fundamental attribution error, cognitive dissonance and obedience to authority. Fundamental

Finding Out How Much Acid There Is In A Solution

3144 words - 13 pages problem arises when assessing the impact of human error in the experiment. This becomes subjective rather than objective, and informed estimates must be made as to the impact of this human error. One of the main sources of human error was judging the end point. This involved deciding when the solution had neutralised. This was vitally important, as this quantitative data was needed in the calculation to find out the strength of the acid. If

Hospital Pharmacy

1902 words - 8 pages and safety of patients, yet they lack the ability to interface. Because of this inability, they are useless outside of the particular system in which they function. As we move toward better standards, we are slowly improving healthcare, but are nowhere near making full use of the potential that exists. Because technology is created, implemented, and used by humans, there is always the potential for human error. Since we rely so much on

Descaetes: Error

1841 words - 8 pages lead to error. By sheer luck you may be correct in some cases, or you may be wrong. It is in making judgments that human beings can error. In meditation three Descartes states “the principal and most frequent error to be found in judgments consists in the fact that I judge that the ideas which are in me are similar to or in conformity with certain things outside of me” (Descartes Meditation 3, 36). When ideas that are within the mind are brought out

The Existence Of God

1209 words - 5 pages imperfect? Yet, Descartes claims that God gave humans no faculty for making mistakes, and we are constituted as a mediator between God and nothingness. The reasoning behind the justifications made by Descartes is related to "free will." Descartes states that the faculty of judgement is not infinite in human beings; human error is not dependent upon God but is rather a mere defect. On the other hand, free will is a freedom to choose which is

Are The Soft Sciences Really Scientific?

556 words - 2 pages sciences in that all things in mathematics have a logical reasoning found purely in the behaviour of numbers and therefore are not based on any form of human intervention. After mathematics comes Physics a science also based around the study of numbers, this time applied ,however, to the real world. This margin for human error by experiment already moves it away from the purely scientific as there is room for assumption to become knowledge without

Evolution vs. Religion.

785 words - 3 pages called literal creationists, because they interpret the two Genesis accounts of creation in the Bible literally and believe that the Bible is without error. They believe that the "day" mentioned in Genesis 1 signifies a normal 24 hour day. According to this creation the universe was established in six days. Biblical creationists interpret most sedimentary rocks as products of Noah's flood. The majority believes that the earth is less than 10,000

Descartes Free Will

1957 words - 8 pages In Meditations on First Philosophy Descartes attempts to explain the cause of errors in human beings. Descartes says that error occurs “since the will extends further than the intellect” (Descartes p.39). That’s because our intellect is something that is finite; it is limited to the perception of only certain things. Whereas our will, ability to choose is not limited; it is has an infinite capacity. Therefore we sometimes attempt to will things

New Technology Market: Zero-day Exploit

1294 words - 6 pages recommended policies. Security policies and prevention does not guarantee a safe secure environment. Security breaches within an organization still may occur. Human factors such as a person’s character, reasoning ability, and habits play a part in the efficiency of security policies in an organization. For example, if a policy was in place for users to change their passwords every 90 days. But Management would prefer to have their password set


1154 words - 5 pages works well for Socrates, so he sticks with it. In this, Socrates discusses the natural errors every human is liable to make. Thrasymachus, of course, agrees that every human makes errors, and that yes, every tyrant is human, therefore they are inclined to make errors, and yes, they may by error make unjust laws that the citizens follow. Therefore these citizens in order to be just, must follow laws that are unjust to the tyrant which is than not the

Comparison of Socrates and Siddhartha Guatama Buddha

896 words - 4 pages -error method, from practicing extreme austerities to meditation; he reached enlightenment. (Socrates Biography) Regardless of the fact that Buddha and Socrates were of divergent origin, lived in different era, led contrasting lives, they seem to have been unified in their seeking for the Universal Truth. Guatama Buddha defines that truth is the concepts of morality are changing, it happens everywhere. For example, depending on traditions and

Similar Essays

Faith And Reason Essay

1429 words - 6 pages due to human error (99). Human reasoning is limited. For example, human reasoning cannot comprehend the transcendence of God: "Much more is it beyond the competence of human reason to investigate all the points of intelligibility in that supreme excellent and transcendent substance of God."In Summa Contra Gentiles 1.5, Aquinas also mentions the benefits of faith that reasoning cannot provide. For example, humans cannot possibly, through reasoning

Is Mr. Spock Possible Essay

619 words - 2 pages Is Mr. Spock possible? Due to the old Star Trek episodes, we knew that Spock is a different species from human being (although part of his Earth¡¯s genes was from his mother). In Spock¡¯s original planet, all the people (including Spock) are commanded to control their emotion. Spock and his nation have an unlike logical belief to the human kind, since they must obtain a level of reasons and fusibilities before a decision

Inductive Reasoning Essay

1035 words - 4 pages species. While in most observations the variable has limited possibilities, the complexity of human behavior means we can never guarantee true consistency nor eliminate all extraneous interferences. No matter how many safeguards are put in place to prevent error including double blinding and peer review, we cannot completely eliminate this feature. If we are to find a somewhat solid foundation for inductive reasoning, it will have to mitigate

It Is Our Moral Responsibility To Question God's Existence And If There Is A God, Would He Want Us To Use Our Reason.

771 words - 3 pages the question straight to the answer and merely seeking confirmation of your preconceived bias. A person who questions god's existence is not being rebellious. Such a person admits to being only human in that they could be making a mistake, and seeks to find the truth in the matter. With any important question, one seeks to avoid error, because avoiding error is necessary to finding the truth. Some say there is no need to question god's existence