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g comments on Typicality and Asymmetrical Similarity - Less Wrong

25 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 06 February 2008 09:20PM

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Comment author: g 06 February 2008 10:46:35PM 8 points [-]

Has it been established that people who prefer "98 is approximately 100" to "100 is approximately 98" or "Mexico is like the US" to "the US is like Mexico" do so because, e.g., they think 98 is *nearer* to 100 than vice versa? It seems to me that "approximately 100" and "like the US" have an obvious advantage over "approximately 98" and "like Mexico": 100 is a nice-round-number, one that people are immediately familiar with the rough size of and that's easy to calculate with; the US is a nation everyone knows (or thinks they do).

I bet there really is a bias here, but that observation doesn't strike me as very good evidence for it. The rival explanations are too good. (The example about disease in ducks and robins is much better.)