Patti (whipartist) wrote,

Explaining "pick a number"

A while ago, I asked people to pick a number with a promise to explain later. It goes like this.

I was trying to pick one of four books to take with me to the doctor's office, and asked one of my coworkers to pick a number 1-4. He chose three, and I told him that was the most likely answer for him to give. He asked why, and I explained that people tended to pick numbers centered around 3/4 of the range, with a secondary cluster around 1/4 of the range.

So I posted a poll to "prove" it. Even knowing that my friends were more likely than average to be aware of this, and/or to randomize, I predicted that both the mean and the median would be above 5.5.

The mean was 5.97, and the median was 7. Y'all are surprisingly typical, I think.
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