Are you a cognitive miser? Test yourself to find out

I’ve been active on social networking site Twitter for about a year now. It’s proven to be a good resource for useful links.  Last week one of the folks I follow, workshop facilitator Joe Gerstandt, pointed his readers to an article that appeared last November in the Globe and Mail, “Why smart people do dumb things“.

It’s an article on dysrationalia – how hard it is for us to think rationally, despite the intelligence we possess. Dysrationalia leads us to take shortcuts in solving problems, going for what seems the easy or obvious answer instead of working harder to identify the correct one.

This article poses some puzzles for readers to solve, including this one:

Bob is in a bar, looking at Susan. But she is looking at Pablo. Bob is married. Pablo is not.

Is a married person looking at an unmarried person? The answer could be (a) yes, (b) no or (c) cannot be determined.

The correct answer might surprise you. Click here to test yourself on this and the other brain teasers the article challenges readers to match their wits against.

Photo credit: Artem Chernyshevych.

4 responses to “Are you a cognitive miser? Test yourself to find out

  1. I am happy to see that many in social psych are moving away from the cognitive miser and focusing on the motivated tactician. Interesting stuff!

    • Diane Levin

      Stephanie, any chance you could provide links? This was frankly the first I’d heard of the so-called cognitive miser, and I confess I’m not familiar with the “motivated tactician”. You’d be helping me and my readers in doing so.

      Whether the theory has its critics or not, I thought the puzzles were worth puzzling over. They serve their intended purpose well – making the reader stop to consider how carefully (or not) we think and weigh before we attempt to solve.

  2. Hi, Diane. I think if one does a search on “cognitive miser” +”motivated tactician” lots will come up. Here’s a start:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_miser
    http://www.psychwiki.com/wiki/Cognitive_Miser

    I think we are all cognitive misers AND motivated tacticians — it’s situational. I find it fascinating.