Sunday, May 28, 2006

Learn Math

An interesting psych study by Ellen Peters and colleagues shows that students who are better with numbers are less susceptible to framing effects. E.g.,:

less numerate students tended to rate a student's exam performance as better on a 7-point scale if they were told she had answered 74 per cent of items correctly in her exam, than if they were told she had answered 26 per cent incorrectly. By contrast, more numerate students were less affected by the way such information was presented. (Numeracy was tested with 11 maths questions on probability).


students were given the chance to win cash if they picked a red bean from a jar. Less numerate students were more likely than numerate students (33 per cent vs. 5 per cent, respectively) to choose to take their chances with a jar that had 9 red beans out of 100, than with a jar that had 1 red bean among 10, probably because they were swayed by the sight of more red beans in the first case, even though the odds were poorer.

I am curious how much susceptibility to framing affects individual productivity in different occupations and how much the returns to math/economics degrees is related to this?

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