Rats vs. Elis

While taking a break from the seemingly endless wading through application files that I am doing by necessity, I found this interesting report about rats versus Yale undergraduates via a post of Tim O’Reilly on Twitter that ended up on Friendfeed. Faced with a random sequence of rewards for choosing one of two possible courses of actions, the rats behaved optimally; the undergraduates thought too much about the random sequence and ended up attaching fake patterns to it that resulted in substantially less success than the rats’ in getting the rewards.

I keep repeating the old adage “I predict not because I can, but because I am asked to”, which comes from an economist whose name I am now unable to recall. Now I can add to this that rats do better, so please don’t ask me to predict such things as the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Methinks I will bookmark scienceblogs.com.

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