[EM] another reason to avoid strategic motivations

Jonathan Lundell jlundell at pobox.com
Mon Dec 1 17:47:18 PST 2008

On Dec 1, 2008, at 5:36 PM, Terry Bouricius wrote:

> But seriously, it would be important to extend the experiment to  
> find out
> if the respondents would ACT on that pessimistic statement that  
> flies in
> the face of probability, or if they were making a mildly humorous
> statement as in "I forgot my umbrella, so it will probably rain."

That's true enough. But the result is, in a general sense, consistent  
with other results. An interesting, and depressing, reference is Bryan  
Caplan's The Myth of the Rational Voter. There's plenty to argue with  
in the book, but it's hard to avoid his conclusion that voters act in  
systematic non-rational ways.

On the strategy question, if you have any doubts, I recommend that you  
spend a couple of hours at a blackjack table, and watch your fellow  
players. Most of them have a "system", and while there are rational  
blackjack strategies that will minimize your expected losses, you'll  
find very little evidence of rationality at the tables. And those  
gamblers would presumably prefer to win; they're not throwing away  
their money just to entertain the observer.
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