Loaded Full of Questions Wok 2: Reason

Progress Journal

  • Mia Sallis
  • Group Members: Beca Havlinek, Rohan Sharma, Andy Chow Zhai
  • February 12th - February 19th
  • WOK Badge: Reason
  • “Loaded Full of Questions: The Experiment"


What is your plan for your project? restate your main point

“Are humans instinctively rational?” is the essential question we are basing our project around. To try to answer this question we have to create an experiment that will aid us. What would be a good idea is asking a diverse group of people a bunch of loaded questions, and comparing their answers. From the type of answers we can conclude the on if humans are instinctively rational. Also, if a specific question is answered the same way we can make further conclusions to how humans respond making it an instigative rational response

Today was a very productive day. My group finished the questions and the scrip to our experiment. We also tested our experiment on people in the class and adjusted it. All we have to do is actually preform the experiment and record the data and make/complete the powerpoint. We are almost done!

I learned a lot today about leading questions and how to make them and how fun they are to listen to peoples responses. Also, from the testing that we did for our questions, I observed how many people do actually answer instinctively towards the loaded questions, rather than thinking them through.

Our Project

Loaded Full of Questions: The Experiment

My group decided that we wanted to do an experiment that helps us answer this essential question:

Are humans instinctively rational?

What exactly is instinctive reasoning?

  • Reason- something we use whenever we make a decision
  • Usually we reason instinctively -- meaning we make reasoned decisions that are unconscious -- This usually depends on previous experiences
  • It is possible to train ourselves to reason consciously all the time -- the point where we are consciously aware of every choice we make
  • We wanted to test to what extent people react instinctively, we did this through loaded questions

To observe instinctive reasoning, we decided to use Loaded Questions:

  • Are designed to get more than a straight (yes-or-no) answer -- To draw an extended response
  • Carries assumptions
  • For example: "Have you stopped beating your wife?" Whether the respondent answers yes or no, they will admit to having a wife and having beaten her at some time in the past

From using our knowledge on Instinctive Reasoning and Loaded Questions we designed our experiment:

Hypothesis: The majority of subjects will fall for the loaded questions

  • What do we mean by this? --- Those who respond yes or no to the loaded questions show instinctive reasoning, and those who give a more elaborate answer thus do not show instinctive reasoning.


  • Subjects
  • Recording device
  • Our questions


  • Take subjects and ask the mixed variety of questions and loaded questions and record the answers

The questions: (the loaded questions are bolded)

  • How often do you think students cheat?
  • What is their preferred method of cheating?
  • Do you think giving a 0% is a suitable punishment for cheating?
  • Have you stopped cheating in exams?
  • How often do you think students lie to their friends?
  • Do you think lying creates unhealthy relationships?
  • Have you stopped lying to your friends?
  • Is denying a defense mechanism?
  • Why do you think people deny things?
  • Why do you always deny everything?

Here is a quick explanation on the loaded question "Why do you always deny everything?"

  • To answer with instinctive reasoning: I do not deny everything & I deny everything
  • These would be considered automatic responses -- unconscious

To not answer with instinctive reasoning

  • I deny everything because…
  • There is a thought process along with this -- conscious

We tried to relate the questions to things that people could regularly do

We also added other random questions, rather than just loaded questions in attempt to not have the subjects realise the type of questions we were asking



Due to the variation in the answers:

  • Question 1: did not support our hypothesis because the did not respond with instinctive reasoning out numbered the did respond with instinctive reasoning
  • Question 2 &3: Both responded 50/50, which does not allow for us to conclude if our hypothesis is correct

What could have altered the subjects responses

  • The way we asked the questions
  • Being distracted by background noises
  • Not fully understanding the questions asked

What I learned:

  • The way people respond to loaded questions is not black-and-white -- As in, people sometimes may respond with instinctive reasoning, while others not so much.
  • We should consider that not everyone is the same in the way that we reason
  • Knowing this could help us understand why people differ in the way they react to situations -- Allows us to be problem solvers when we disagree & Allows us to see how someone else might view a situation

In given situations, humans may or may not be instinctively rational. The type of questions asked or the type of situation someone is in can unconsciously decide whether or not to react with instinctive reason. The way people perceive a situation can change the way we reason, whether instinctive or not. If someone does not take the time to think through a situation, then they are being instinctively rational. Also, it could depend on the way people reason. Everyone is different, meaning everyone most likely reasons differently, too. Through my experiment I found that to some questions people do react instinctively rational, and to others they do not. This could be due to the different situation, meaning that a certain question may resonate differently with each person, causing a different reasoning reaction. If humans are instinctively rational, it depends on the mindset of the person and the situation that they are in.

Elective Reading

I watched the TedEd Video: What is Zeno’s Dichotomy Paradox? I thought that it would be a simple and thorough overview of what exactly the Dichotomy Paradox was, I was wrong. It was thorough, however it was not simple and left me quite confused on what the paradox was.

It logically makes sense that if you continue to cut down something in half, continuously, one will not ever reach a finite end. However, when something should have a finite end, but you take the whole and continually split it in half, it will logically equal infinity. To help me I tried to relate this to what I learned about finding the Sum of infinite series. There is a formula for finding the sum of an infinite series. Which sounds kind of impossible, but this paradox proved it. Connecting this paradox to what I did in math helped me better understand, reason and believe in this paradox.

To me this makes sense and doesn't make sense at the same time. Continually splitting something in half is equal to infinity is completely logical. However, having a whole already and then splitting the parts of that whole in half continually will always equal that finite whole is also logical. The way one may reason with this paradox will change how one chooses to believe whether splitting something in half will have an infinite or finite ending.

Extension Proposal

This is an animated TED video about reason is the key driver of human moral progress. I find this is relevant to the WOK, reason because how it connects reason to humans moral. It also talks about how this "moral progress" does not just happen, it may take generations to evolve. This gives a wide view on the affects of reason.

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