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What branch of science? Logic? Psychology?

  1. Mar 12, 2010 #1


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    Every few years I Google this book and then ask about it book here on PF on the off-chance that someone recognizes it. I cannot nail down anything specific that Google can work with, so ultimately it fails.

    I'm going to try something different this time that should improve my Google search technique.

    My question is: what branch of science is this?

    Here is a synopsis of the book:

    The book documents an actual experiment carried out in an auditorium of people.

    The curtain rises to show a table upon which sits a tall, narrow featureless box. Nothing happens for several minutes. Then with no preamble, the box falls on its side. End of presentation.

    The audience is given pen and paper and asked to explain what caused the box to fall over. There were as many answers as people in the room, but that wasn't what was fascinating. What was fascinating was at what point people decided that the question had been satisfactorily answered.

    Some simply said 'an internal force pushed it over', some went a little further, positing plausible ideas such as a stiff breeze or a string pulled by someone offscreen; some made elaborate explanations, filling their page, replete with diagrams and cutaways of levers, or blocks of melting ice.

    Analysts found answers fell on a scale of 1 to 5. 1 being "it just fell", to 5 including diagrams.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 17, 2010 #2
    DUDE! That's not science! They're just...messin' with people's heads!
  4. Mar 17, 2010 #3


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    Ha ha. No seriously.

    Perhaps this could be moved to GD lest it die of loneliness.
  5. Mar 17, 2010 #4


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    Are you trying to find the book on Google or references to it? It sounds like a psychology experiment to me.
  6. Mar 17, 2010 #5
    When the cat died when the poison gas container broke, it fell against the side of the box with enough force to make the box fall over.
  7. Mar 17, 2010 #6


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    Well if you want to go there, I think that Harry Potter waved his wand at it from the back row. I've got several four-year-olds who will back me up on that. :tongue2:
  8. Mar 17, 2010 #7
    Was that the only experiment outlined in the book? And it was a whole book?
  9. Mar 17, 2010 #8
    The description of the experiment almost makes it obvious it's in the category of psychology. Logic is more within the realms of philosophy(or certain topics in computer science and mathematics). I'm not sure exactly what topic in psychology that experiment covers, but it definitely includes surveying, and filling in missing information.

    It's probably an experiment either about selective attention, or how people fill in missing details(e.g when they're given imperfect information about a system).
  10. Mar 17, 2010 #9
    The experiment is described in a book called How We Decide. I don't know if that's the book you're referring to but, if not, I'll bet that book has the reference where the author got that information from. I can check when I get home.

    Edit: Oh, sorry, that wasn't the question. But, again, I'll look at that portion of the book again and see who was performing the experiment. Something with the word "neuro" in it is niggling the back of my brain.
  11. Mar 17, 2010 #10


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    No, that's not the book.
    That would be great if you found any reference to the experiment.

    Yes and yes.

    At least I think so. My mind has a way of discarding things.

    Either one.
    Well yes but that's too broad to be much use.
  12. Mar 17, 2010 #11
    I know what you mean. I often only remember parts of things.

    I have some m4d g00g13 5k1lls so I'll see what I can do as long as I am sober.
  13. Mar 17, 2010 #12
    Yeah, okay, now my mind is messing with me. I've read that exact experiment in short form, the way you just wrote it out, Dave, in something I'm reading or have read very, very recently. I've skimmed four books and can't find it. Now I"m on a mission. I'll find it.
  14. Mar 17, 2010 #13


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    If you find it I will happily extend my leg-shaving services free for life.
  15. Mar 17, 2010 #14
    Just what I needed, even more incentive.
  16. Mar 17, 2010 #15


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    Deja vu?
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