Pigeons prove superior to humans in Monty Hall Problem

Can it be? Has humanity been bested at mathematics by pigeons? The answer tragically is yes when it comes to the Monty Hall Problem. For those who don’t know what the Monty Hall Problem is, here’s a summary:

Imagine that you’re in a game show and your host shows you three doors. Behind one of them is a shiny car and behind the others are far less lustrous goats. You pick one of the doors and get whatever lies within. After making your choice, your host opens one of the other two doors, which inevitably reveals a goat. He then asks you if you want to stick with your original pick, or swap to the other remaining door. What do you do?

Most people think that it doesn’t make a difference and they tend to stick with their first pick. With two doors left, you should have even odds of selecting the one with the car. If you agree with this reasoning, then you have just fallen foul of one of the most infamous of mathematical problems – the Monty Hall Dilemma. In reality, you should actually swap every time – doing so means double the odds of getting the car.

It’s completely counter-intuitive but it really works out that way. You can test it yourself here. In any case, despite giving even professional mathematicians headaches, pigeons have no trouble at all getting it.

I’m afraid that it’s now only a matter of time before the great pigeon revolt to take over the Earth.

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One Response to Pigeons prove superior to humans in Monty Hall Problem

  1. Lurker111 says:

    A corollary to the Monte Hall problem is the Deal or No Deal Do You Want to Swap Your Case for the Last One on the Floor problem. Swapping here gives you a 25 out of 26 chance of getting the bigger prize. P.S. Don’t tell Howie …

    (I believe there are 26 suitcases in all; if different, adjust the odds accordingly.)

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