Here’s a pretty unique brainteaser that you may not have encountered before.
You’re investigating a known criminal. Here’s what you know:
This woman is 26-years-old. She’s clever, a graduate. You know she was very much involved in social and environmental movements. That’s pretty much it.
How do you profile this woman? You have to pick what you believe is the most probable option:
- The woman is a shop assistant
- The woman is a TV reporter
- The woman is a shop assistant and environmental activist
Have you answered?
Here’s the solution:
Most people choose the third option. It’s logical, right? The info says the woman is involved in social and environmental movements. That doesn’t say that she’s an environmental activist, however.
If you picked number 3, then you’ve fallen victim to what’s known as conjunction fallacy.
Conjunction fallacy merely states that a singular explanation or event is more probable than two occurring in conjunction. In other words, it’s still more likely the woman is just a shop assistant. You don’t know that she’s an environmental activist – you can’t say she’s likely to be one because of other seemingly related information.
It’s more likely that she’s in the broadest category, number 1, than the joined category, number 3.