Freakonomics Experiments

That is the new venture from Dubner and Levitt and John List, and the web site is here.  Dubner describes it to me as “…a crowd-sourced research project that tries to learn something about decision-making.”  The FAQ is here and it states:

Sometimes in life you face one of these decisions, and you just don’t know what to do. In the end, whatever you decide will essentially be a flip of a coin. Freakonomics Experiments helps you make the decision by flipping that coin for you. Over the next few months, we’ll then check in with you with surveys and other materials. In turn, you’ll help further scientific research. Unlike most games of chance, participating in this experiment is win-win.

Levitt blogged about it here, and here is a short radio interview about the site.  If I understand this correctly, they are asking for volunteers.

I look forward to seeing what they come up with.


Here's John List on "stereotype threat:"

Here's a list of people who want to read your blog spam:

Reporting for duty.


That whole interview is really interesting. The stuff about how he had to add ~30 journal pages worth of new experiments to his experience/loss aversion paper to convince referees that he'd found something? Interesting.

I do.

Right, so now the only problem is that no reasonable person will make an important decision by following the result of a coin flip.

That's not true. Sometimes it's more important to make a decision than what decision you make. For example, let's say you need a car right away and you have narrowed down the choices to two that are nearly equal. If you spend too much time evaluating the relative merits of each choice, flipping a coin may be a rational way to make a quick decision and move forward.

Not all of the decisions on the site are important. I'm trying their online dating experiment.

Visit my website


Become a Lab Rat.

The Chinese have a traditional system for doing this. You can see it practiced in Chinese temples everywhere:

I asked the freakonomics decision engine whether I should hang myself. It said "yes."


'I look forward to seeing what they come up with.'

Profitable media contracts applicable to other situations and individuals? You know, synergy, leverage, existing user base, favorable metrics. etc.

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