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Topic: Don't Let Math Pull the Wool Over Your Eyes
Replies: 7   Last Post: Jan 15, 2013 9:49 PM

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GS Chandy

Posts: 6,946
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: Don't Let Math Pull the Wool Over Your Eyes
Posted: Jan 14, 2013 8:50 PM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

Jerry Becker posted an 15, 2013 1:10 AM:
> ***************************************
> From the Wall Street Journal, Saturday, January
> 5, 2013. See
> http://professional.wsj.com/article_email/SB2000142412
> 7887323374504578219873933502726-lMyQjAyMTAzMDAwNTEwNDU
> yWj.html?mod=wsj_valettop_email
> **************************************
> THE NUMBERS GUY
>
> Don't Let Math Pull the Wool Over Your Eyes
> By Carl Bialik
>

Fascinating! Researcher Nimmo Eriksson did a study
in which he tagged on a "sentence containing a math equation (or something of that nature) to a totally unrelated passage (an abstract of some paper)".

It appears that most participants, even those with advanced degrees, found the passage including the unrelated math sentence to be more convincing than the passage without the unrelated math sentence!
>
> "Math makes a research paper look solid, but the
> real science lies not in math but in trying one's
> utmost to understand the real workings of the
> world," Prof. Eriksson said.
>

But he DID find that those with degrees in math and
science to be less likely to be taken in.
>
> Those with degrees
> in math, science or technology rated the abstract
> with the tacked-on sentence as slightly
> lower-quality than the other. But participants
> with degrees in humanities, social science or
> other fields preferred the one with the bogus
> math, with some rating it much more highly on a
> scale of 0 to 100.
>

I.e., STEM may have some value - at least to lower
the possibility of the subject getting fooled by
something pretending to be scientific?

(I seem to recall, a couple of years ago, that a passage of utter gibberish pretending to be from some advanced technical discipline was highly rated by many who saw it - many of those also had advanced degrees in sociology and such).

GSC



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