THE CONCEPT was conceived by Robert Bjork and Elizabeth Bjork, two psychologists at the University of California, Los Angeles-

And it is a beautiful and haunting way of understanding of how underdogs come to excel. Consider for example the following puzzle:

1. A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

What's your instinctive response?  I'm guessing that it is that the ball must cost 10 cents. Here's another question: 

2. If it takes 5 machines  5 minutes  to make 5 widgets, how long would it take  100  machines  to make  100 widgets?

The setup of the question tempts you to answer 100. But it's a trick. One hundred machines take exactly the same amount of time to make 100 widgets. The right answer is  5 minutes.

These puzzles are two of the three  questions that make up the world's shortest intelligence test* . 

*[Actually, there's even shorter test. One of the most brilliant modern psychologists was a man named Amos Tversky.
Tversky was so smart that his fellow psychologists devised the  ''Tversky Intelligence Test''.
The faster you realized  Tversky  was smarter than you, the smarter you were.]*

It's called the Cognitive Reflection Test {CRT}. It was invented by the Yale Professor Shane Frederick, and it measures your ability to understand when something is more complex than it appears  -to move past impulsive answers to deeper, analytic judgments.
Frederick argues that if you want a quick way to sort people according to their level of basic cognitive ability, his little test is almost as useful as tests that have hundreds of items and takes several hours to finish.

To prove his point, Frederick gave the  CRT to students at none American colleges, and the results track pretty closely with how students from those colleges would rank on more traditional intelligence tests.

Students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology  -perhaps the brainiest college in the world  -averaged  2.18 correct answers out of three.

Students at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, another extraordinarily elite institution, averaged  1.51 right answers out of three.

Harvard students scored  1.43; the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1.18; and the university of  Toledo  0.57.

The CRT is really hard. But here's the strange thing. Do you know the easiest way to raise students scores on the test?  Make it just a little bit harder.

The psychologists Adam Alter and Daniel Oppenheimer tried this a few years ago with a group of undergraduates at Princeton University. First they gave the  CRT   the normal way, and the students averaged 1.9 correct answers out of three.

That's pretty good, though it is well short of the  2.18   the MIT students averaged. Then Alter and Oppenheimer printed out the test questions in a font that was really hard to read  -a  10 percent gray,  10-point italics Myriad Pro font -so that it looked barely legible:

The average score this time around?  2.45. Suddenly the students were doing much better than their counterparts at MIT.

That's strange, isn't it?  Normally we think that we are better at solving problems when they are presented clearly and simply. But here the opposite happened:

A  10 percent gray,  10-point italics Myriad Pro font makes reading really frustrating. You have to squint a little bit and maybe read the sentence twice, and you probably wonder halfway through who on earth thought it was a good idea to print out the test this way.

Suddenly you have to work to read the question.

Yet all that extra effort pays off. As Alter says, making the question ''disfluent''  causes people to  ''think more deeply about whatever they come across. They'll use more resources on it. They'll process more deeply or think more carefully about what's going on.

If they have to overcome a hurdle, they'll overcome it better when you force them to think a little harder.''

Alter and Oppenheimer made the CRT more difficult. But that  difficulty turned out to be desirable.

The Honour and Serving of the  ''Educational Operational Research'' continues. Thank You all for reading, learning and sharing. And see ya all on the following one.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society :

''' Your Life Head Start '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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