Ben Peoples Speaks

September 13, 2010, 12:36 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

There’s a thing floating around the internet where it asks you a bunch of math questions really quickly, then asks you to think of a vegetable.  It’s here.

I proposed, on Reddit, that this is because 90% of people (a number I made up) think of carrot when asked to think of a vegetable.  I was called out on this number, so I decided to run an experiment.  The hypothesis is that the math questions have nothing to do with it, other than distracting you, so you have a rapid response.  I set up a series of Mechanical Turk hits, in two groups.  Group 1 had a single question: “Name a vegetable”.  Group 2 was a little more complicated.  As with the original, it asked 7 questions, then the 8th “Name a vegetable.”

To investigate the role that the math has to do with it, there were four groups of questions in Group 2.  The first was the same as the questions in the gif above.  The 2nd were historical questions.  The 3rd were different math questions.  The fourth was color questions (often involving fruit, but no vegetables).  It was emphasized that the HITs would still be approved if the questions were incorrectly answered.

Average time for the Group 1 (single question) was 13 seconds, and Group 2 (8 questions) was 43 seconds.  Each HIT was presented to 20 different people.

Results are being analyzed now.  You can download the raw files here.

Except in one group, the most common vegetable was carrot (20-45%), followed by cucumber.

Very preliminary results are:

20 Respondants when asked “Name a vegetable” (alone): 45% Answered “Carrot” 15% Answered: “Cucumber”, “Spinach”, or “Tomato” 10% Answered “Onion” 5% Answered “Broccoli”

Of 80 survey respondants, in all groups: 15% answered “Carrot” 10% answered “Cucumber” 10% answered “Tomato” 8% answered “Onion”

Of the 20 who answered the questions in this image: 25% answered carrot 10% Cucumber 10% Onion 10% Brinjal (a type of eggplant)

Of the 20 who answered the other math questions: 20% answered carrot

Of the 20 who answered color questions (one question was what color is a tomato): 10% answered carrot 20% answered tomato

Of the 20 who answered the history questions: 30% answered carrot All others were 5%

1 Comment so far
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That’s interesting…I answered “Zucchini.” Which is odd, because i don’t even like Zucchini.

Comment by Ellen

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