ƃuıʞuıɥʇ uʍop-ǝpısdn: I can change your answer by reversing the order of the question

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[tweetmemeonly] By reversing the order of the question I can change your answer. Did you see what I did there? Well, yes, of course you did – you Hunter Blog readers are a sharp bunch. But it didn’t change anything – not least because I didn’t reverse a question – simply the headline.

And even if I had, you’d’ve been waiting for my dastardly trap. Someone like you would never be fooled: never fall prey to one of the three following examples, right? (Wrong.)

Happy? Happier?

It doesn’t get simpler that a dual question set. If I asked you how happy you are, and asked you if you were in a relationship or not those two factors might have a bearing on each other. Or they might not. And you would answer in a fashion concomitant with your state of mind: A state of mind that exists before the question is asked, a state of mind that remains during the questioning, and a state of mind that remains afterwards. Same same, yes?

No.

If you ask the dual question set in this order:

  • How happy are you?
  • How often are you dating?

The correlation between the two is low (.11). But if you ask the dual question set in this order:

  • How often are you dating?
  • How happy are you?

The correlation between the two is high (.62). (Nudge, pg 26)
We’re 1-0 down, and there’s no point appealing to the umpire.

Advantages, and disadvantages, of Tax

I’m going to ask you to list the advantages and disadvantages of a carbon tax. Or should I ask you to list the disadvantages first and then the advantages? They’re the same either way.

Su-p-Riiise.

They’re not the same either way. If I ask you to list the advantages, then disadvantages of carbon taxes:

  • only 46% of you who are Republicans would comply
  • but 100% of you Democrats/Independents would happily list

But if I ask you to list disadvantages first, and then advantages of carbon taxes:

  • 100% of Republicans complied
  • 100% of Democrats/Independents complied

(The original PDF is here)

upsidedown
Miles per Gallon, or Gallons per Mile?

Miles Per gallon is such a universal measure of fuel efficiency we never question it. Or – more importantly – we never question our understanding of it.

What the hell am I talking about?

A car manufacturer that increases the efficiency of a small car small by 10mpg has made the same efficiency as a car manufacturer that increases the efficiency of a small car small by 10mpg. Because 10mpg is 10mpg is 10mpg.

Not at all.

Miles per gallon is a nasty measurement: It looks like an absolute number, but any changes in efficiency (+/-) need to be considered in relation to the previous mpg – a percentage, in effect. So if a gas guzzler that performs at 10mpg increases efficiency to 20mpg you’ll use 50% less fuel. If an already efficient small car that performs at 30mpg increases efficiency to 40mpg you’ll use 8% less fuel.

Now you can see going from 10mpg to 20mpg reduces your fuel use by 1/2, or 50%:

  • 10 miles per gallon = 1 gallons per 10 miles
  • 20 miles per gallon = ½ gallons per 10 miles

And going from 30 mpg to 40mpg reduces your fuel use by 1/12th, or 8%:

  • 30 miles per gallon = 1/3 gallons per 10 miles
  • 40 miles per gallon = ¼ gallons per 10 miles

The Miles Per Gallon measurement makes us undervalue small improvements on inefficient cars, and overvalue large jumps between efficient cars. If the industry standard was Gallons Per Mile instead, we’d not unduly overvalue or undervalue measurement. (A new gallons per mile calculator December 16, 2008 Rick Larrick)

So, make sure you ask in the right order. And turn the question upside down if you need to.
ǝɔuǝɹǝɟɟıp ƃıq ɐ sǝʞɐɯ ʇı˙


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Tweets that mention Upside-down thinking: I can change your answer by reversing the order of the question | The Hunting Dynasty -- Topsy.com says:

January 22, 2010 at 10:39 am

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Oliver Payne, TheHuntingDynasty. TheHuntingDynasty said: \ NEW POST \ Upside-down thinking: I can change your answer by reversing the question | http://ow.ly/ZhEc #sustainable #behaviour […]

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