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Quattrone & Tversky Experiment

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Isabella Guerrini

on 25 February 2014

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Transcript of Quattrone & Tversky Experiment

Observations and Conclusions
Quattrone & Tversky Experiment
In 1984, two scientists by the name of George Quattrone and Amos Tversky started a series of experiments in the United States, to determine a persons self-deception. Self-deception is when a person denies or rationalizes the importance or relevance of logic in certain situations. We use self-deception to convince ourselves that what we got is better than what we wanted, if we didn't get what we originally wanted.
38 students were chosen to participate in a study about the “psychological and medical aspects of athletics” and different heart types.

The researchers tricked them into thinking that the amount of time that they could keep their arm in the water determined what their current health status was.

The participants would want to achieve more desirable results

How ready are people to deceive themselves?
The results acquired by Quattrone and Tversky showed that the experimental manipulation was effective. For the first half that were told that cold tolerance is healthy were able to submerge their arms in cold water much longer the second time compared to the first time they did. At first, they lasted 35 seconds but during the second attempt, they lasted longer than 45 seconds.

But the other half that were told that cold tolerance is unhealthy, lessened their submersion time. On the average, when they first submerged their arms in cold water, they lasted for around 45 seconds. But after being informed about their heart type, their time went down on an average of 35 seconds.

Are we deceiving ourselves in ways we can’t clearly perceive? Is that really possible and would we really believe the lies that we ‘told’ ourselves anyway?
First, the participants were told to submerge their arms into cold water for as long as they could.
Then the participants were given some other tasks to do to make them think they were really involved in a study about athletics, like bike exercises or jogging.
The participants were then given a short lecture regarding life expectancy and how this relates to the type of heart each person has. They were informed of the two types of heart namely:

Type 1 heart which is associated with poorer health, shorter life expectancy and more vulnerable to heart disease.
Type 2 heart, which is associated with better heath, longer life expectancy and lower risk of contracting heart disease.
Subjects were then asked to submerge their arms again into the cold water for as long as they could stand.

Half were told that people with Type 2 hearts are expected to have increased tolerance to cold water after exercise, while the other half were told it decreased tolerance to cold water. But these are not correct facts and were just made up lies to see whether participants will be deceiving themselves to think this way or not.

It was observed that, when people thought that a higher cold tolerance meant a healthier heart, they held their arms underwater much longer and those who believed the reverse did otherwise and felt they couldn’t tolerate the cold any longer.
To test even further whether subjects were self-deceiving, they were asked whether they intentionally held their arms underwater longer or shorter as it indicates the health of their heart. Out of the 38 subjects, 29 denied they did and 9 confessed. Those 9 said that the water had changed temperature, and said that was the reason of the change, but of course the water just had the same temperature all throughout the experiment.
In conclusion this experiment shows the different levels of self-deception. At the highest level, people tend to ignore the deception and think and act as though their incorrect belief is completely true, totally ignoring and rejecting the truth.
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