Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?


Pigeons smarter than people?

17bImagine you are a contestant in a “Let’s make a deal” game. There are 3 doors to choose from: yellow, blue, and red. You choose the yellow door.

One of the doors you didn’t pick is opened, let’s say the red door, to reveal no prize.

You now have a choice. Stick with yellow? Or swap for the blue door?

It seems counter-intuitive but switching doors doubles your chance of winning.

Researchers in America found that humans rarely changed their minds – even after they had been trained and given explanations – and therefore performed poorly, whereas pigeons learned to adopt this strategy to optimise their “winnings”. (Journal of Comparative Psychology Vol 124 No 1)

Originally posted May 28 2010