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A Mind Game - What Does This Say About How We Asses Risk?

A Mind Game - What Does This Say About How We Asses Risk?

Here's something that seems like a simple exercise. Can you solve it?

If a coffee and a donut cost $1.10 and the coffee cost $1.00 more than the donut, how much does the donut cost?  Well, if you said 10 cents, like I did, then you are wrong. The correct answer is 5 cents. (see below)

What this tells us is that we can't always rely on our system 1, quick thinking. There may be decisions that seem quick and easy in an emergency, yet they could lead us to trouble. In an emergency we need to slow down, think through a problem and our response of what to do when the stakes are high. This is more formally referred to as system 2 decision making. You can read more about system 1 and system 2 in this post.

Answer: If the donut is 5 cents, the coffee is $1.00 more which makes it $1.05; together they cost $1.10.

The wrong answer is 10 cents. If a coffee is $1.00 more than a 10 cent donut then the coffee is $1.10; together they cost $1.20.  

This example is from the book "The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - and Why" by Amanda Ripley. 


Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst