Sample Essay

Words 2,120

The results to the experiment show that the majority of people are commonly affected by the conjunction fallacy and certain people are more prone to the fallacy than others.

The results of this experiment, suggest strongly that the general public is getting more and more informed about the conjunction fallacy. However although such people are not ‘naive’ anymore when replying to certain questions this has probably occurred due to the recognition of certain types of questions containing conjunctive sentences as ‘trick questions’ where in the ‘correct answer’ the conjunction always has a lower probability than each disjunction. It is possible that these people are relying on this learned ‘trick’ when giving their answers and the correct answers may not reflect a greater general understanding of the logic or the mathematics of probability. As such people are just as likely to fall prey to the conjunction fallacy when taking decisions in their real lives even though they answer correctly questions put to them in certain ways.

The results also suggest that people are more likely to fall prey to the conjunction fallacy when faced with questions containing certain scenarios more than others. It shows that the framing of the question and/or prior knowledge, biases or stereotypes have a definite effect on whether or not the conjunction fallacy occurs. Scenario 3, particularly elicit a high rate of erroneous responses. As such the conjunction fallacy cannot be deemed to be completely the result of a cognitive deficiency in the subject, but possibly may be partially attributed to a lack of precision in framing the question.

Some suggest that this fallacy occurs because people rely on certain ‘rules of thumb’ for judging the probability of an event rather than rational thinking. People judge the independent possibilities of each event separately and then use an incorrect ‘rule of thumb’ to combine the two probabilities.

By the use of introspection, in the original ‘Linda Problem’, the obvious reason behind people’s preference of the second statement seems to me to be that in the in the second statement people immediately recognize ‘feminism’ as being the sort of liberal movement that an outspoken female philosophy major interested in social justice etc. would be involved in, whereas a bank teller’s job seems to be something expect to have no relation to, or possibly even have a negative correlation to an education in philosophy.

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