Monty Hall, part III

Last, but not least!, we wanted to share with you an amusing bit of research which was done recently.  It turns out that your average pigeon is better at the Monty Hall game (aka Krazy Kaan’s Extravaganza) than your average college student.

This great blog post by Ed Yong tells you all the details but the short of it is that the researchers set up an experiment in which pigeons and college students would each play the Monty Hall game many times over the course of a month.  Neither the pigeons nor the students were explained the details of the game, just asked to play and to maximize their reward.

By the end of the month, the pigeons had clearly caught on:

From Ed Yong's blog post.

Whereas the college students weren’t quite so quick:

Also from Ed Yong's blog post.

One caveat is that the college students had “only” 200 tries, while the pigeons had quite a few more.  That said, you could make quite a bit of money off of a person who can play a game 200 times and still not realize that the odds are against them :-).

P.S.  Amusingly, quite a number of the comments to Ed Yong’s post were by people who didn’t see that switching was the better option!