Organisational Change Management Volume 2

Quiz for Testing Cognitive Bias

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(11 examples)

Example 1 - General

Please answer the 11 questions

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

2 It takes five machines five minutes to make five widgets. How long would it take a hundred machines to make a hundred widgets?

3 A patch of lily pad on a lake doubles in size every day. It takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake. How long would it take to cover half the lake?

4 A person living on the ninth floor of a building always uses the lift/elevator to go to the ground floor. Except when it is raining, on returning to the building he always uses the lift/ elevator to go to the seventh floor and walks the remaining two floors to his apartment. Why?

5. Romeo & Juliet are found dead on the floor in a room. The only evidence is water & glass on the floor. How did they die?

6 A person can only count to 11 yet he/she has to check that there are 48 oranges in a box. How does he/she do it?

7 What do the numbers 3, 7, 8, 40, 50 and 60 have in common that is not true for any other numbers?

8 What is the importance of the following sequence of letters, ie O, T, T, F, F, S, S, E, N, T ?

9 Father and son are involved in an accident that kills the father. The survivor is taken to a hospital for surgery. On seeing the patient, the surgeon states, "I cannot operate on this patient as he is my son."What is the relationship of the surgeon to the patient?

10 Why are manholes round?

11 Who am I? Some clues: I was

- a successful political leader of a major world power

- one of the youngest political leaders in the nation's history

- sworn into office on a cold and cloudy day in January

- raised as a Catholic

- successful in this new position in part because of my vibrant charisma

- revered by the people

- played a critical role in a military crisis

- my name became legendary

11. The following ranking of staff member groups in the Las Vegas gambling industry is in order of descending responsibility. Now try ranking these groups in order of descending annual earnings, including tips:

i. Supervisor of dealers (overall responsibility for gambling room)

ii. Dealers (collect money for gambling chips & deals cards, etc)

iii. Cigar/cigarette sellers (sell each cigars at $25 & make $8; sell packets of cigarettes at $8 & make $3)

iv. Drink waitresses (provide free drinks to gamblers)

v. Car park attendants (park & collect cars for patrons)

vi. Call girls (hang around the casinos)

. The above questions demonstrate that we all have biases. People's attitudes and experiences can drive and frame perceptions that can lead to their reaching different conclusions from the same evidence if presented in different ways. Furthermore, our brains are still hardwired for survival.

. We recognize a piece of information as being part of a pre-existing pattern. Our bias works to short-cut thinking by unconsciously jumping ahead to a conclusion that seems plausible and probable. This works as a mental filter searching for information that supports a conclusion and rejecting any information that disagrees with our conclusion and/or leads to another possibility.

"...biases helped form our own unique view of the world. We're susceptible to our biases for three reasons: we instinctively rely on them, they're hidden and hard to identify, and we defend them subconsciously. In other words, we tend to see only what we believe. Biases are especially difficult to manage, much less overcome, because they're outside our control. We don't really play an active part in developing them; our brains do it on their own..."

Matthew May, 2005

. Our biases, especially subject matter expertise, help us think productively and solve problems. On the other hand, they can artificially limit our ability to think differently and "outside the box".

. Furthermore, mistakes can be made when using intuition alone and, often, when under pressure of incomplete information, complex problems, ill-defined goals and stress.

. Generally people are over-optimistic and over-confident. We tend to exaggerate our own ability and have delusions of control and knowledge.

Answers to the 8 questions are:

1. The ball costs $0.05 and the bat $1.05; 2. Five minutes; 3. Forty seven days; 4. Dwarf; 5; count out 11 oranges and puts 12th orange separate ‐ repeats this 4 times; 6. In word form, each comprises of 5 letters; 7. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10; 8. Mother; 9. By being round means that the round lid cannot fall into the man holes, no matter how much you twist and turn them (this is very different form square or rectangular covers); 10. Adolph Hitler (not John F Kennedy); 11. Reverse order (v, iii, iv, ii & i)

NB For the "ball and bat"puzzle - around 50% of students at Harvard, MIT and Princeton - and at the less selective universities, the number increased to 80+% - gave the incorrect answer!!!!!

"...Many people are overconfident, prone to place too much faith in their intuitions. They apparently find cognitive effort at least mildly unpleasant and avoid it as much as possible..."

Daniel Kahneman, 2012

. Is the following thinking logical?

All roses are flowers

Some flowers fade quickly

Therefore some roses fade quickly

Answer: its logic is flawed as it is possible that no roses amongst the flowers fade quickly. Need to take the time override your intuition. Many people are prone to answer questions with the first idea that comes to mind and are not willing to invest the effort needed to check their intuition. In intuition, conclusions come first and the arguments follow.

. This suggests that when people believe a conclusion is true, they are also very likely to believe the argument that appears to support it; even when these arguments are not sound.

. Failing these cognitive tests is partly due to insufficient motivation and not trying hard enough.

NB high intelligence does not make people immune to biases

(sources: Barrie Dunstan, 2006; Matthew May, 2005; Lawry Scandar, 1999; Nick Hoare et al, 1998; Malcolm Gladwell, 2008; Public Service Commission ‐ Fiji, 2013; Arthur Darrow, 2013; Daniel Kahneman, 2012)

Example 2 (Traveller's dilemma)

Introduction

. Consider this situation:

You and your partner are flying home with identical valuable mementos of your trip. Both collections are damaged in flight. The airport manager states that he/she is happy to compensate you but is handicapped by not knowing the value of your mementos. He/she thinks that by simply asking the price from the travellers, they will inflate it. Instead, he asks each of them to write down the value of the mementos from $2 to $100 without discussing it together. So, if both write the same number, he/she will take that to be the true price, and will pay each of them that amount. But if they write different numbers, he/she will assume that the lower is the actual price and that the person writing the higher price is cheating. If this happens, they will be paid the lower number along with a bonus and a penalty - the person who wrote the low number will get $2 more as a reward for honesty and one who wrote the high number will get $2 less as a punishment. For example, if one writes 46 and another 100, the first one gets $48 and the other $44.167

What numbers would they write?

Comments on the activity

. This activity establishes a realistic context in which one or more individuals have choices to make and will be rewarded according to those choices.

. The objectives of this activity are

"...to contest the narrow view of rational behaviour and cognitive processes taken by economists and many political scientists, to challenge the libertarian presumptions of traditional economics and to highlight a logical paradox of rationality..."

Kaushik Basu, 2007

. The rational choice dictates that $2 is the best option, yet most people pick $100 or a number close to 100. If people do not chose 2, they have not thought through the logic and are deviating markedly from the rational choice. Furthermore, players reap a greater reward by not adhering to reason in this way, ie by acting illogically, they end up reaping a greater reward. So this type of outcome demands a new kind of formal reasoning.

. The rationale for selecting 2 as the logical choice is based on a style of analysis called a backward induction, which is commonly used by game theorists. Consider a plausible line of thought that might be pursued: the first idea would be to write the largest possible number, ie 100 which will earn him/her $100 and similarly for his/her partner (if the partner is similarly greedy). Furthermore, if the memento cost considerably less than $100, he/she will be happily thinking about the stupidity of the proposed activity. Then he/she realizes if $99 is nominated, he/she could make a little more money, because in that case he/she will get $101. On the other hand, the partner could have the same thought, ie written $99. Thus they would both receive $99. If the partner wrote $99, then the other would do better by writing $98, in which case he/she would get $100. Yet the same logic would lead the partner to choose $98 as well. In that case, he/she would deviate to $97 and earn $99; and so on. Continuing on this line of reasoning, the travellers spiral down to the smallest permissible number, namely, $2. This means that the 2 players earn $98 less than they would if they each naively chose 100 without thinking through the advantages of picking a small number. It is highly implausible that this would happen, ie choosing 2; on other hand, this is where logic would lead us.

. The game theory approach is better understood by examining a payoff matrix - a square grid containing all the relevant information about potential choices and payoffs for each player. The matrix for the Traveller's Dilemma (TD)

Other partner's choice (dollars)

organisational development change management

. For TD, the payoff matrix is with the first partner's choice in the left most column; other partner's across the top row. The first number in the square at the intersection of the chosen row and columns is the first partner's payoff and the second number is the other partner's payoff. For example, the first partner chooses 98 and the second 99, then the first partner receives $100 and the other partner receives $96. The outcome in which both players choose to earn $2 (see shaded box) is called the Nash equilibrium (an outcome from which no player can do better by deviating unilaterally). Both players perform badly if they choose any other number than 2. The choice of 2 is called the dominant choice because it is the best thing to do - no matter what the other player does.

"...game theory insists that rationality could lead players to select 2, but most people pick an integer closer to 100. A new kind of reasoning is needed to gain a vigorous understanding of this rational choice not being rational. The results of Traveller's Dilemma contradict economists' assumption that standard game theory can predict how supposedly selfish rational people will behave. They also show how selfishness is not always good economics..."

Kaushik Basu, 2007

. TD helps us understand how competing firms may undercut each other's price to their own detriment.

. It has been suggested that the choice of 100 is a spontaneous emotional response; picking a number between 90 and 99 involves some strategic reasoning, eg some amount of backward induction, etc and takes the longest time in making a decision about a certain number, ie players give more thought to their selection; anything between 2 and 90 is regarded as a random choice.

. Remember: what is rational to one player is not necessarily to another, ie rationality is not necessarily common knowledge between players and is a source of conflict between logic and intuition. In TD, intuition wins.

. In trying to explain the apparently irrational behaviour in which most players choosing a high number and expecting other players to do the same, some have suggested

"...altruism is hardwired into our psyche alongside selfishness, and a behaviour results from a tussle between the two......altruism, socialization and faulty reasoning guide most individuals' choices. Yet I do not expect that many would select 2 if those three factors were all eliminated from the picture...... the idea of behaviour generated by rationally rejecting rational behaviour is a hard one to formalize..."

Kaushik Basu, 2007

(source: Kaushik Basu, 2007)

Example 3 (Prisoner's Dilemma)

Introduction

. Consider this situation:

The Prisoner's Dilemma involves 2 suspects have been arrested for a serious crime; they are interrogated separately and each has the choice of incriminating the other (in return for leniency by the authorities) or maintaining silence (which will leave the police with inadequate evidence for a case, if the other prisoner also stays silent). Thus each prisoner has a choice, ie to incriminate the other person or not.

Remember: there is no prior agreement between the 2 suspects on how to handle this situation; there is no plan to communicate during the activity; there is no loyalty between the two suspects or favours owed. The aim for each "suspect"is simply to act in his/her best interest.

Separately each suspect is informed that if he/she implicates the other suspect, and if the other suspect remains silent, he/she will be set free and receive a reward. If this happens, the second suspect will receive the maximum prison sentence. Similarly, the reverse replies: the first suspect will get the maximum prison sentence if the second suspect implicates him/her and the first suspect remains silent. Secondly, if both suspects implicate each other, then both will receive the minimum prison sentence. Thirdly if both remain silent, both of them will be set free as the police will lack evidence for a conviction.

Comments on the activity

. This is a similar example to the Traveller's Dilemma.

. The game's options and payoffs are shown below

   

Other suspect (B)

 
   

Implicate other suspect

Stay silent

One suspect

(A)

Implicate suspect

A: Minimum sentence

B: Minimum sentence

A: Set free & reward

B: Maximum sentence

 

Stay silent

A: Maximum sentence

B: Set free & reward

A: Set free

B: Set free

. The best overall outcome, viewing the situation from outside, is for both suspects to stay silent. In other words, they cooperate with each other. But what is the rational, self-interested thing to do? If one suspect implicates the other, the best approach will be for other to implicate him/her. Otherwise the first suspect could receive the maximum prison sentence rather than the minimum sentence. On the other hand, if the other suspect stays silent, once again the rational thing to do is to implicate the first suspect: he/she will not only stay out of prison, but he/she will also receive a reward.

. Irrespective of what the other suspect chooses to do, the best course of action is to implicate him/her, or defect.

"... although staying silent (choosing to cooperate) would be better all-around, rational self-interest tells you to defect. That is why the prison's dilemma is so called. Self interested individuals do not necessarily choose the best overall outcome..."

Robert Winston, 2003

. Both suspects should choose to defect, implicate each other, and both will get the minimum prison sentence. Co-operation will be undermined by this tendency to defect, because defection pays.

"...the prisoner's dilemma teaches us a lesson that can be applied to many non-zero sum games. If rational self-interest is the rule, then taxes may not get paid......public toilets do not get built......there are many situations in economics that show that self-interest amongst all the agents concerned can produce the worst outcome overall, from tax dodging to price-fixing cartels.....Why are we assuming the players in the prisoner's dilemma are guided solely by their own self-interest. The reason is that as a result of investigating the evolution of human co-operation we can rely on the fact that the genes are selfish; they are successful only if they act in their own self-interest. Ignoring kin selection, and assuming that we wish to find out if co-operation can evolve between strangers, the assumption of genetic self-interest is extremely important. Long-term strategies to co-operate or defect will only be successful if the strategy is in the best interest of the individual. But for a particular strategy to spread throughout a population, two conditions need to be met. The first is that the strategy must, in the long-term, benefit each individual who is using it. The second is that the policy must be stable within the population - in other words, it needs to be an evolutionary stable strategy and must not be susceptible to any other, more successful strategy..."

Robert Winston, 2003

(source: Robert Winston., 2003)

Example 4 (Out of the Box)

Your task is to connect all 9 dots, without lifting your pen/pencil, by using only 4 straight lines

organisational development change management

Example 5 Riddles

You have to work out what the letters mean. See no. 0 as an example

No.

Riddles

Answers

0

24 H in a D

24 hours in a day

1

26 L of the A

 

2

7 D of the W

 

3

7 W of the W

 

4

12 S of the Z

 

5

66 B of the B

 

6

52 C in a P (WJs)

 

7

13 S in the USF

 

8

18 H on a G C

 

9

39 B of the O T

 

10

5 T on a F

 

11

90 D in a R A

 

12

3 B M (S H T R)

 

13

32 is the T in D F at which W F

 

14

15 P in a R T

 

15

3 W on a T

 

16

100 C in a D

 

17

11 P in a F (S) T

 

18

12 M in a Y

 

19

13=UFS

 

20

8 T on a O

 

21

29 D in F in a L Y

 

22

27 B in the N T

 

23

365 D in a Y

 

24

13 L in a B D

 

25

52 W in a Y

 

26

9 L of a C

 

27

60 M in an H

 

28

23 P of C in the H B

 

29

64 S on a C B

 

30

9 P in S A

 

31

6 B to an O in C

 

32

1000 Y in a M

 

33

15 M on a D M C

 

Answers

No.

Riddles

Answers

0

24 H in a D

24 Hours in a Day

1

26 L of the A

26 Letters of the Alphabet

2

7 D of the W

7 Days of the Week

3

7 W of the W

7 Wonders of the World

4

12 S of the Z

12 Signs of the Zodiac

5

66 B of the B

66 Books of the Bible

6

52 C in a P (WJs)

52 Cards in a Pack (Without Jokers)

7

13 S in the USF

13 Stripes in the United States Flag

8

18 H on a G C

18 Holes on a Golf Course

9

39 B of the O T

39 Books of the Old Testament

10

5 T on a F

5 Toes on a Foot

11

90 D in a R A

90 Degrees in a Right Angle

12

3 B M (S H T R)

3 Blind Mice (See How They Run)

13

32 is the T in D F at which W F

32 is the Temperature in Degrees Fahrenheit at which Water Freezes

14

15 P in a R T

15 Players in a Rugby Team

15

3 W on a T

3 Wheels on a Tricycle

16

100 C in a D

100 Cents in a Dollar

17

11 P in a F (S) T

11 Players in a Football (Soccer) Team

18

12 M in a Y

12 Months in a Year

19

13=UFS

13 is Unlucky For Some

20

8 T on a O

8 Tentacles on a Octopus

21

29 D in F in a L Y

29 Days in February in a Leap Year

22

27 B in the N T

27 Books in the New Testament

23

365 D in a Y

365 Days in a Year

24

13 L in a B D

13 Loaves in a Bakers Dozen

25

52 W in a Y

52 Weeks in a Year

26

9 L of a C

9 Lives of a Cat

27

60 M in an H

60 Minutes in an Hour

28

23 P of C in the H B

23 Pairs of Chromosomes in the Human Body

29

64 S on a C B

64 Squares on a Chess Board

30

9 P in S A

9 Provinces in South Africa

31

6 B to an O in C

6 Balls to an Over in Cricket

32

1000 Y in a M

1000 Years in a Millennium

33

15 M on a D M C

15 Men on a Dead Man's Chest

If you get 23 or more correct, you are a "genius"!!!

organisational development change management

(source: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Example 6 Four Quadrants (A, B, C &D)

Starting with quadrant "A", divide the white area into 2 equal parts; then divide the white area in quadrant "B"into 3 equal parts; then divide the white area in quadrant "C"into 4 equal parts; lastly divide the white area in quadrant "D"in 7 equal parts.

Example 7 Some More Riddles

Answer the following questions

i) what gets wetter the more it dries?

ii) what's a reward for waiting?

iii) what can you put inside a barrel to make it lighter?

iv) in what place does Thursday precede Wednesday?

v) what eats but never swallows?

vi) name 3 days in sequence which are not Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday?

vii) How many animals of each kind did Moses take into the ark?

(answers: a towel/sponge; a tip/patience/prince charming; holes; the dictionary/date line; rust/acid; yesterday, today and tomorrow; "none"as Noah took the animals into the ark but the wrong answer can be explained by the biblical context, Moses and Noah have the same vowel sounds and number of syllables. Replace "Moses"with "George W Bush"and see what happens!!!!)

Example 8 Insights

(NB creative people put things together in a different and novel way)

8.1 Test yourself by suggesting a word that links or connects the 3 words, ie find a solution word that has something to do with each of the 3 words, eg

- tennis, strike and same (possible answers: match, ball, game)

- pine, crab and sauce (possible answers: apple, juice, food)

- sandwich, house & golf (possible answer: club)

- date, alley & fold (possible answers: first, fast)

- hammer, gear & hunter (possible answers: head)

- cover, arm & wear (possible answers: under)

- brain, mind, thinking (possible answers: neuroscience, exams, ideas, intellect, IQ, memory, brainstorming)

- house, shed, hospital (possible answers: buildings, shelter, shade)

- river, sea, ocean (possible answers: water, swimming, sailing)

- book, letter, email (possible answers: reading, writing, data, information, communications, message)

- wife, sister, daughter (possible answers: females, relatives, women, shopping, money, trouble)

- cottage, Swiss & cake (possible answers: cheese)

- dive, light & rocket (possible answers: head, sky)

- date, alley & fold (possible answers:.........................)

- dream, ball & book (possible answers:.......................)

8.2 A man and his son are in a serious car accident. The father is killed, and the son is rushed to the emergency room. Upon arrival, the attending doctor looks at the child and gasps, "This child is my son! "Who is the doctor?

8.3 A giant inverted steel pyramid is perfectly balanced on its point. Any movement of the pyramid will cause it to topple over. Underneath the pyramid is a $500 note. How do you remove the note without disturbing the pyramid?

Comments on Insight activities

. How did you solve the problem, ie

- did you logically work it out or did the answer come to you in a flash?

- when you got the answer, did you know it was correct straight away?

. Insights often appear to come from nowhere and at the most unusual times, eg when you are putting no conscious effort into solving a problem, such as when in the shower, doing exercise, driving, waking-up, etc

. Insights come from instinctive thinking, ie unable to explain how the thinking process works. This is different from deliberate thinking, ie using a structured approach (systematic/logical). This method works best when we have time, help of a computer and a clearly defined task.

. Insights involve more visual than verbal/written recognition. The latter involves recording your thought process which will reduce the chance of an insight due to

- paralysis through analysis

- becoming too reflective on the process

- too much focus on the mechanics/details/rules & regulations, etc, ie drown in the data

"...introspection destroys people's ability to solve insight problems..."

Malcolm Gladwell, 2005

Example 9 Impasse

. What does the array of letters (H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O) stand for?

- Record the strategies you tried and when you got stuck?

- Some possible answers are

i) He Is Just Kindly Laughing, etc (an acronym)

ii) Letters in the alphabet from H to O

iii) H2O (water)

Example 10     What you believe
A game which best describes what you believe, ie which of these messages do you consider to be true?
1.  Together is always better
2.  Do what you love with people you love
3.  Everything will come together
4.  Play again now
5.  Little by little with joy
6.  Just say yes
Comments
1.  Some activities are best done alone, like writing
2.  How do you handle people who you don't like but have to work with
3.  Things don't always come together without effort
4.  We have all become so serious and need to relearn to be playful
5.  Sometimes we need to do things that are not necessarily joyful
6.  Saying "no" upfront can avoid having to get out of things that you never wanted to do in the first place (Marion Hume, 2016),

(source: David Rock, 2009; Bill Synnot, 2012; Malcolm Gladwell, 2005; John Medina, 2009)

 

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