Below are the answers to the decision-making quiz. If you didn’t do well, fear not. I only got one right (Attila the Hun). “Right” is defined as the answer falling between your range. I got #7, the moon landing, wrong for the same reason they state below. Well, humility is a good thing!
If you were honest and thoughtful about your answers, at a 90% confidence interval your estimated intervals should contain the correct answer nine times out of ten. In other words, only a single answer would be outside the high and low estimates you wrote down last Friday.
1. Length of the Nile River (in miles): 4187
2. Diameter of the moon (in miles): 2160
3. Weight of an empty Airbus 380 (in pounds): 606,000
4. Year in which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born: 1756
5. Gestation period of an Asian elephant (in days): 645
6. Air distance from Chicago to Shanghai (in miles): 7,061
7. Year the first spacecraft landed on the moon: 1959
8. Area of US national parks (in square miles): 131,875
9. Year in which Attila the Hun died: 453 AD
10. Average population density of the US (in people/sq mi): 83.6
How did you do? Since your confidence intervals were entirely under your control, getting less than nine answers within your range indicates overconfidence in your abilities. A little humility is a good thing.
P.S. Many factors contribute to bad decisions, including making false assumptions. Most people guess 1969 for question #7 because they equate “moon landing” with “the first manned moon landing” in 1969, but that was not what the question asked. The Soviets (crash) landed Luna 2 on the moon on September 12, 1959.
Copyright (c) 2010, Institute of Management Consultants USA
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