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Wason, Monty Hall, and Adverse Defaults


  • Howard Margolis


The paper gives an account of several well-known cognitive illusions in terms of contextual defaults which guide intuition where familiar cues are ambiguous. When the default is inappropriate, as it sometimes must be, the result is a cognitive illusion. In contrast to Kahneman & Tversky attribute substitutions, these context substitutions are not heuristics (cognitive shortcuts) that would often give a good approximation of a correct response. Rather, they are akin to behavior in which a person instructed to look left instead somehow is prompted to look right.

Suggested Citation

  • Howard Margolis, 2005. "Wason, Monty Hall, and Adverse Defaults," Working Papers 0514, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:0514

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