Estimating stuffPhilip Morgan
How many songs sung by adults have a children’s choir somewhere in them? I could immediately think of two (Blood Flow, by Smog and Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2, by Pink Floyd), but that’s about it.
How many you can you think of, and how many would you estimate?
As I was driving around today, runnin errands and listening to The Wall, I though this was such a unique, unconsidered question.
WRONG! --> https://www.ilxor.com/ILX/ThreadSelectedControllerServlet?boardid=41&threadid=102887 There are enough lists of "songs by adults with children's choirs in them" that Google has a featured snippet for this query! :)
That reminded me: we are pretty universally terrible at estimating stuff beyond our direct experience. And that reminded me of this interesting article that came across the feeds somewhat recently: https://today.yougov.com/topics/politics/articles-reports/2022/03/15/americans-misestimate-small-subgroups-population
A little quote to give you a sense of this article's content:
Americans are equally likely to misestimate the size of less widely discussed groups, such as adults who are left-handed. While respondents estimated that 34% of U.S. adults are left-handed, the real estimate lies closer to 10-12%. Similar misperceptions are found regarding the proportion of American adults who own a pet, have read a book in the past year, or reside in various cities or states. This suggests that errors in judgment are not due to the specific context surrounding a certain group.
The whole article is interesting, and looks at how people very often mis-estimate the size of groups they both are and are not members of (we're generally terrible at it in both cases), and groups that are and are not politically charged (again, we're generally terrible at it in both cases).
Douglas Hubbard claims he can train people to be better at accurately estimating: https://hubbardresearch.com/shop/calibrated-probability-assessments/ (In the past, he's used language like "as accurate as a bookie", which always made me smile.) Has anyone taken this training and can report about its efficacy? I'm intrigued!