I’m in finance and I’m here to help

Via Stumbling and Mumbling:

It’s often said that people misperceive skill and luck, for example by saying that a team is on form when it has merely had a run of good fortune. A new experiment at the Autonomous University of Barcelona shows that this error is even worse than we thought.

Jordi Brandts and colleagues got a group of students to predict a sequence of five coin tosses, and then selected the best and the worst predictor. They then asked other subjects to bet on whether the best and worst predictor could predict another five coin tosses. The subjects were told that they would bet on the worst predictor from the first round, unless they paid to switch to the best predictor.

82% of subjects paid to make the switch.

En wie waren die proefpersonen?

These people weren’t just idiots plucked from the street. They were fourth year finance undergraduates at one of the best universities in Spain.

En aan dat soort figuren gaan we dus binnenkort ons spaar- en pensioengeld toevertrouwen. Erger nog: er is geen enkele reden om aan te nemen dat onze huidige financiële ‘professionals’ ook maar een haar beter zijn.

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