Hello guys, I am currently writing my master's thesis on biases in the investment context. One sub-sample that I am studying is people who are educated about biases in a general context, but not in the investment context. I guess LW is the right place to find some of those so I would be very happy if some of you would participate, especially since people who are aware about biases are hard to come by elsewhere. Also I explicitly ask for activity in the LW community in the survey, so if enough of LWers participate I could analyse them as an individual sub-sample. It would be interesting to know how LWers perform compared to psychology students for example.The link to the survey is: https://survey.deadcrab.de/

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I always hate these kinds of things which say "you're given X, what do you want to do" and don't specify what timeframe, goals, or other resources/investments I already have.

My answers are very different if this is a marginal investment on top of my current allocations vs a sole investment and I have nothing else. Likewise very different if I expect to need the results in 6 months or 20 years, and whether I can change/rebalance in the meantime.

Of course I can no longer change the framing while the survey is running, but for future surveys how would you frame it? Do you think it is worth specifying time-frame, other wealth an so on? I am not sure if most participants of an online survey would carefully read the instructions and actually try to visualise the specified situation.

What I have seen often is the framing "on top of what you already own you have been given..." which implies that you should make your decision based on your current situation. Do you think this would be superior?

it depends on what you're trying to discern with the question. If you want to know what people would do with a windfall in addition to their current allocation, ask that. but then you probably need to ask some intrusive quesitons about what they previously had.

You could state "X is all you have in the world, and you make enough to live on but not to save additional. which of the following would you choose to save for a vacation in 6 months" or "for retirement in 20 years" or "for emergencies".

The UI for the stock-buying game is a bit obtuse. My initial reactions: (1) "so wait, do I start by buying and selling with the buy/sell buttons or by manually entering numbers on the left?", (2) "what is the trigger for moving to the next round -- is it buying/selling, in which case I only get to make one trade per round, or the continue button, or what?", (3) "I hope it's not the continue button, because if I press that and it means 'next question' like everywhere else then I'll get kicked out of the game". Oh, and (4) "would it have killed him to make the initial budget a multiple of 6?".

(The answers turn out to be: 1. despite the little arrows on the fields at the left suggesting you can change them, you can't; you set up your initial portfolio with the buy and sell buttons. 2. the continue button proceeds to the next round. 3. the continue button does not take you out of the game.)

The rubric was also a little ambiguous about whether the sizes of price change are fixed for each stock or vary from round to round. It turns out to be the latter. I would have chosen slightly differently in my first set of updates if I had known this.

Oh, and it would be nice if it were clearer whether the lucky winner is going to get (1) the amount they gained in this game (if positive) or (2) the amount they ended up with in this game.

Unfortunately I cannot fix the UI problems, because I lack the programming skills and asked a fried to set up the survey for me. He is pretty busy now and I don't want to bother him again, since I already requested many changes before the survey went live. The winner will gain the amount he ended up with not only the gains.

There's no reason to run your own survey software. SurveyMonkey or even Google forms do the job.

Did you see the little investment game at the end? I would be very surprised if you could replicate that in SurveyMonkey or Google Forms.

Is that investment game packaged anywhere (preferably with a better UI) so I can run it multiple times, and (afterward) see the actual probabilities of the items? I think I got somewhat unlucky and my explore/exploit mix didn't pay off as I'd hoped, but I'd have fun exploring an optimium method.

Fair enough! I hope what I've written above will be helpful to anyone else who finds it initially puzzling the same way as I did.

On question 3 I got this:

Notice: Undefined index: uk in /var/www/vhosts/web32.dehamd121.servertools24.de/httpdocs/survey.deadcrab.de/questions/q08.php on line 72

[EDITED to add:] There were no very obvious adverse consequences of whatever was wrong, other than the notice.

One of the pages crashed on me. When I refreshed the page I got the next question (5) I think, and this error message.

You might want to resolve the ambiguity between "chromosomes" and "chromosome pairs". I am genuinely unsure whether if the question about these had said "human" I would have wanted to answer 23 or 46.

LOL. I poke my nose in there and what does it tell me?

You could not be verified. Begone, bot!


I use a captcha, so if you block scripts this happens.

Yeah, I guessed as much, but I find it funny that browsers unwilling to run scripts are auto-classified as bots :-)

Hadn't thought about it, but you're right, it is an odd categorization. Web browsing is already pretty deeply computer-assisted no matter what, and the ability to run arbitrary scripts seems like it's closer to being a bot rather than further.

It's not a binary choice, but more of a continuum from "very little automation, lots of human button-pushing" to "mostly automated, with very high-level human direction (decision to write the code, decision to run it on that site, etc.)". It's funny to assert that a simpler (or deliberately crippled) browser is further to the right when it's actually further to the left.

So, have I removed what little humor there is in the fact that the message will only ever be parsed by humans but it accuses the reader of being a bot?

Well, if you want to actually dig into this, it becomes more complicated (as usual). Couple of points:

  • Spiders are a common class of bots on the web and they, as a rule, do not execute scripts. I am sure that some people use the inability to run JS as a spider marker (I am not implying this is a reasonable choice).

  • When talking about running scripts, a crucial question is "whose script is it?" Notably, the issue is whether you should be willing to run any code that an unknown third party hands you -- it is, kinda sorta, a question of trust and then we are left to ponder whether bots are/should be more trusting than humans or less :-)

Quick note: I put a 1 for the driving question because I don't drive

Thank you for participating. You can also skip questions if they make no sense for you. I should have advised people to do that if they do not drive.

I took it, and I enjoyed it.