Re: The Conjunction Fallacy Fallacy [WAS Re: Anti-singularity spam.]

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Wed May 03 2006 - 17:21:36 MDT

> Consider a regular six-sided die with four green faces and two red
> faces. The die will be rolled 20 times and the sequence of greens (G)
> and reds (R) will be recorded. You are asked to select one sequence,
> from a set of three, and you will win $25 if the sequence you chose
> appears on successive rolls of the die. Please check the sequence of
> greens and reds on which you prefer to bet.
> 1. RGRRR
> **
> Obviously, 65% of the undergraduates in this study, betting real money,
> chose to bet on (2) over (1) because of conversational implicature
> prototyping ecological triggering mechanisms. I'm sure they wouldn't
> have made the same mistake if only the instructions had been written in
> blue ink.

Indeed, there's no conversational implicature here, and this error may
well be pure inferential stupidity. (One could try to argue that
there is a connections with what kinds of patterns are most commonly
observed in nature... but I don't see quite how at the moment...). It
seems people are just reasoning something stupid like "Evenly balanced
sequences are more likely"

However, some inferential errors may well be partly or largely caused
by conversational implicature and other such factors...

One of the beautiful things about us humans is that we have soooo many
different ways of being stupid, with so many different causes ;-)


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