According to an academic at the University of Toronto, intelligence and rationality are different things, which is why apparently bright people can be very stupid at times.
Professor Stanovich says we are 'cognitive misers' who avoid thinking too much, which makes sense from an evolutionary point of view -
For example, take this little puzzle, which apparently more than 80% of people get wrong:Thinking is time-consuming, resource intensive and sometimes counterproductive. If the problem at hand is avoiding the charging sabre-toothed tiger, you donít want to spend more than a split second deciding whether to jump into the river or climb a tree.
If you chose 'Cannot be determined' (I did), then you were one of them. Of course, knowing the context will make you work harder at it, but the point is that:Jack is looking at Anne, but Anne is looking at George. Jack is married but George is not. Is a married person looking at an unmarried person?
Yes/No/Cannot be determined
Full article here.unprompted, they wonít bring their full mental faculties to bear on the problem.
"What gets us into trouble isn't what we don't know, but what we know for sure that just ain't so!" - Mark Twain
I wonder if one can read too much into this little example. The obvious approach is to consider that the only unmarried individual you know of is George and you do not know if the person looking at him is married or unmarried. So the obvious answer is that one does not have enough information.
On reflection is is easy to see the problem is based on Anne's dicotomous possible states, but this is the difference between the common sense approach and the scientific/methodological approach.
In real life if one took the methodological approach you would probably end up dead and/or socially isolated before you reached the age of reproduction. Driving a car and considering all possible outcomes in a given scenario really wouldn't work.
So the real issue is to ensure that when one is trying to analyze a problem to recognise that a first principles approach is required, since the intuitive approach leads to gaps in the evidence base.
The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease. Voltaire