Thursday, September 21, 2006

Is human nature predictable?

Once upon a time, I would like to study Psychology, as if it would help me understand human, or predict them. It sounds like an amazing and interesting course, but I guess it might not be a magical pill in real life.

Today I woke up late, due to constant screw up thoughts and excuses just to avoid getting up from the comfort of my bed. Since the day begun late, I somehow unconsciously decode to screw up the entire morning by watching Ed of Stuckybowl.

Ed is both the owner of Stuckybowl and a lawyer. To cuts things short, Ed somehow was involved in defending a scam artist, Danny Devito. It turns out Danny is not really a “full-time” scam artist, but a psychology with 30 years fo experiences making use of his knowledge and taking advantage of the predictability of human nature. If you were to pick a number between 1 to 4, which one will you pick? (Answer is at the bottom). If you we to choose 2 numbers, the 1st one must be an even number followed by the 2nd one which must not be the same as the 1st one, what would be your choice?

Any, Danny orchestrated a sports betting scam, where he successfully predicated the outcome of 5 wins consecutively, and ask his victim to pay to get the result of the 6th game. How does he do it? As long as you think in the shoe of the scammer and not the victim, you might get it subsequently. (Answer is at the bottom as well).

Probably this episode is all about psychology and predictability of human nature. By nature, human don’t take risk, and they need to feel safe (may be it really safety or just a false sense of security). There is a bowler who want to retire with a perfect score, and dare not to bowl one more time because scared of loosing his perfect touch. There is a women who probably like Ed dare not risk her current relationships just to be with Ed, no matter how hard her heart told her to do otherwise. It is said she knows she already screw up, and dare not to risk it further.

It’s human nature, for not taking risk in such a compulsive and non-logical manner, said Danny. Then the bowler came in the middle of the night to make one last bowl, to finish off the game, to take a risk and sleep tight again. Luckily, he made it and go home with a smile. Thought it’s human nature, but it also means higher probability, and not everyone might react the same, just most people would (miracles could still happen). On the other side, the women decides to marry his current boyfriend because he threatens to leave her. Perhaps it’s the fear of loosing, and she didn’t take the risk.

Human nature predictability and probability, what most of the people would do. Again, there is always some people who doesn’t fall in the norm, thus not so predictable. For better or for worse, is totally unpredictable.

Choose a number between 1-4? Answer: 3

Choose 2 numbers, the 1st one must be an even number followed by the 2nd one which must not be the same as the 1st one. Answer: 67

How to scam people into believing that you could predict the outcome of 5 games consecutively?
Answer: In the 1st game, you set 50 letters saying team A will win, and another 50 letters saying team B will win. If team A wins, you forget about those 50 in team B. In the next game, you continue sending 25 letters saying Team C will win and another 25 saying team D will win. At the end of the day, there would be a few of them which received the prediction for 5 consecutive wins. Imagine you would start with 1000 letters.

PS: At the end, Danny was not found guilty as a scam artist. Why? Because he didn’t cheat or make any false claim. He didn’t claim he can correctly predict the results, he just does his predictions and people assume he can do it precisely. Is it his fault that people believe he can? Or the victims’ fault? It is not illegal, but perhaps morally incorrect to take advantages of the weaknesses of human nature. He is just being smarter. Sounds like some advertising campaign out there, taking advantage of human behavior. Again, the best way to deter scam is being smart and not greedy.

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