Philosophy experiment

I came across an experiment in a text on the Philosophy of Science, and I would like to test the results, if I may.

Consider this scenario:
Linda is is 31 years old, single, outspoken and very bright. She majored in philosophy (it's an American text).

As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in anti-war demonstrations.

Given this background, which of these statements do you consider to be the most probable? You do not have to justify your statement (though you may if you wish), simply post the letter of the most probable statement:

a) Linda is a teacher in a primary school.
b) Linda works in a bookshop, and takes Yoga classes.
c) Linda is active in the feminist movement
d) Linda is a psychiatric social worker.
e) Linda is a member of the League of Women Voters
f) Linda is a bank clerk
g) Linda is an insurance salesperson
h) Linda is a bank clerk, and active in the feminist movement.

If you are feeling particularly helpful, you could rank the statements in order of probability (most likely to least likely).

Thank you in advance.


Update: The answers:

There isn't a "right" answer.

The point is that (h) was consistently given a higher average probability than either (c) or (f).  There was no statistical difference between the results of a group of undergrads with no training in statistics, students who had taken basic courses in probability as part of their main subject (eg medicine) or even graduates of Stanford Business School who had taken courses in advanced probability and statistics.

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lemonie7 years ago
"Dave" studied History at University, he's not married, and doesn't own his own house. He likes to socialise in the pub with friends.

a) Is a local councillor, and has a Financial day-job
b) Works for his girl-friend's internet business and likes getting trashed on drink & drugs
c) Lives with his mum and works for an insurance company
d) Has dreams of going to Iraq as private-sector security, but is temp-ing (still)
e) Want's to be a Town-Planner and has moved to London to study at Kingston.


And Dave spends too much time on Instructables as "lemonie". LOL
Actually they're all correct (5 different people).

=SMART=7 years ago

what happens know ?
is there a right answer ?
You have "h" twice, and "g" not at all.  Could you repost with those corrections?
sorry, the 2nd h was supposed to be a g


There ya go :D
Okay, thanks!  And now that other people have talked about it, I can point out the (only) error in your analysis. 

Since "h" is the composition of two different items (specifically, h = f AND c, the probability that h is true must be less than or equal to the separate probabilities that f is true, or that c is true.  Therefore, h must appear below both f and c in any correct list of probabilities.

Mathematically, P(h) = P(f&c) <= P(f)*P(c).  The equality holds only for the case where either P(f) = 1 or P(c) = 1.  This is just because probabilities are normalized such that 0 <= P(x) <= 1.
Well in my opinion H would be more likely as a combination as it relates to two of her qualities, F alone would be to plain and not satisfy the feminist thing, C alone would not utilize her brainpower. So H would appear above both F and C.

Kiteman (author)  kelseymh7 years ago
Which is the point of the whole thing - even suitably-trained people tend to ignore probabilities when making snap decisions.
I know of a few people, they consider themselves suitably trained, and will overanalyze and use probabilities in their snap decisions, and thus my observation, do not have common sense.  My snap decisions are based on experiences and gut feeling.  In trying to answer this question, I was biased on real world "stereotypes" instead of probabilities.
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