TOK Badge: Reason february 21, 2017

Loaded Full of Questions: The Experiment

Are humans instinctively rational?

What is the main point about your WOK that you want to make in your badge project? In our badge project, we want to point out a fallacy in reason shown in people. Specifically, we want to answer the question of that if people are instinctively rational, meaning do they use reason and logic when answering loaded questions. We also want to record the justification of why the people answered the way they did to see the reasoning behind their responses.

What’s your plan for your project? The main point of our project is to answer the essential questions, “Are humans instinctively rational?” by getting people to respond to loaded questions and then asking them why they responded the way they did, if all answer the same instinctively way then we can conclude that humans are rational. The plan for today is to come up with loaded questions and the follow-up questions in order to be ready for next week when we ask the questions to people. We also need to figure out who we are going to ask these questions to. To be ready for the presentation next week we should get some kind of presentation ready or way to show the class the results of our experiment.

February 17, 2017: Today was a very productive day, we came up with our process by which we are going to go through while testing our experiment. We also tested a test subject to make sure our questions work and make sense, which they did. I am excited to see how other people respond to the loaded questions and how many fall for the trick question. I learned more about loaded questions and how people respond when asked them. We are pretty prepared for our presentation and experiment, next week we need to conduct the experiment and then formulate our results. And then once we have gotten our results, we need to put it into a presentation in order to be able to present our findings to the class.

What have you learned about reason? I learned today that reason is not black-and-white but instead everyone is different in the way they think through questions. Through this understanding of reason and how people instinctively respond, it can show us that everyone will respond to and understand knowledge differently.

Elective Reading

I read this elective reading article which was attached with the Reason Badge because it talked about what our experiment was about. The overview of the article was talking about how people are not rational in how they use reason, specifically, "They reported abundant evidence that people don't know when they're being rational and can't decide to use reason at will." This directly relates to the experiment we conducted in showing that people do not decide to use reason and that people are very irrational. A conclusion we came to through our research and experiment.

"Have you stopped cheating in exams?"
  • Informal: logical fallacies
  • Reasoning is only as strong as the premises or assumptions on which it is based.
  • Reasoning does not give you truth. It can look like truth, give the impression of truth, but it still does not give you absolute certainty.
  • You can’t prove a negative (that some isn’t)

Extended Reading:


While coming up with possible loaded questions that we would ask for our experiment, I did a lot of research involving loaded questions and the contexts in which they are found/used. I learned that loaded questions can be as an advertising technique by companies in order to get people to purchase their products. Also, in interrogations, the interrogator has to be very careful to avoid these questions as they can lead to false answers or confusing answers.

OUR EXPERIMENT: Ask people loaded questions and record their responses

  1. Essential Question: Are humans instinctively rational?
  2. Hypothesis: Majority of subjects will fall for the loaded question in the set. They will they respond without thinking.

What we 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

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