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Number bias

1 [deleted] 17 October 2010 02:03PM

The New York Times ran an editorial about an interesting type of cognitive bias: according to the article, the fact that our system of timekeeping is based on factors of 24, 7, etc. and the fact that we have 10 fingers profoundly influences our way of thinking. As the article explains, this bias is distinct from scope neglect and misunderstanding of probability. Has anyone else heard of this kind of "number bias" before? Also, is this an issue that deserves further study on LessWrong?

Comments (8)

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 17 October 2010 04:17:24PM *  4 points [-]

Pretty much expected: priming, availability.

Comment author: Document 20 October 2010 05:40:55PM 0 points [-]

Also anchoring.

Comment author: erratio 17 October 2010 09:05:31PM 2 points [-]

Cognition is not independent of its environment. If we ever achieve uploads I'll be extremely interested to see how our thinking changes to reflect the new environment.

Comment author: jimrandomh 17 October 2010 04:18:30PM *  2 points [-]

In some (but not all) cases, this actually makes sense. Using a 7-day cycle for scheduled events is good, because scheduling is a big coordination game; if some people scheduled their events to happen every 7 days, and others scheduled them to happen every 8 days, then it would be much harder to keep a routine.

(Although if an event is something that people are likely to attend once, rather than repeatedly, then it may make sense to schedule it for different days of the week, so that conflicts are more likely to block only one occurrence, rather than every occurrence.)

Comment author: [deleted] 17 October 2010 06:07:49PM *  1 point [-]

Random related claim (from The Game): If you ask a girl to pick a number from 1 to 10, most of the time (maybe 70%?) they'll pick 7.

Comment author: jasonmcdowell 18 October 2010 12:54:21AM 1 point [-]

What happens if you ask a guy?

Comment author: magfrump 20 October 2010 07:42:20AM 0 points [-]

They'll pick WTF gay penis.

Comment author: jasonmcdowell 01 November 2010 07:43:35AM 0 points [-]

That's beautiful.