Monday, 5 March 2007

Is 17 the "most random" number?

Dave Munger in his Cognitive Daily did an interesting experiment. He asked his readers to pick a number between 1 and 20. The "random" number picked by human is biased towards 17.

Is this culture specific? If you are interested to test it and if you are a blogger in languages other than English, please repeat Dave's experiment and tag your post with human-random-generator. If you can, please also leave a comment here so that other may follow to read your result.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is culturally based. You can find throughout the bible numerous instances of the number 7 coming up. However, we, as a mostly Christian society (USA) know this and choose the next "7" number in the bunch, 17.

Also, this seems like a strange number because neither 7 nor 17 divide into many common numbers and both are prime.

It's like I tell my students when they are writing a thesis to an essay. "The first thing you think of is the same thing 50%+ of the class thought about." I believe the same thing applies to picking a number.