2012 Less Wrong Census/Survey

by Scott Alexander2 min read3rd Nov 2012737 comments



11/26: The survey is now closed. Please do not take the survey. Your results will not be counted.

It's that time of year again.

If you are reading this post, and have not been sent here by some sort of conspiracy trying to throw off the survey results, then you are the target population for the Less Wrong Census/Survey. Please take it. Doesn't matter if you don't post much. Doesn't matter if you're a lurker. Take the survey.

This year's census contains a "main survey" that should take about ten or fifteen minutes, as well as a bunch of "extra credit questions". You may do the extra credit questions if you want. You may skip all the extra credit questions if you want. They're pretty long and not all of them are very interesting. But it is very important that you not put off doing the survey or not do the survey at all because you're intimidated by the extra credit questions.

The survey will probably remain open for a month or so, but once again do not delay taking the survey just for the sake of the extra credit questions.

Please make things easier for my computer and by extension me by reading all the instructions and by answering any text questions in the most obvious possible way. For example, if it asks you "What language do you speak?" please answer "English" instead of "I speak English" or "It's English" or "English since I live in Canada" or "English (US)" or anything else. This will help me sort responses quickly and easily. Likewise, if a question asks for a number, please answer with a number such as "4", rather than "four".

Okay! Enough nitpicky rules! Time to take the...

2012 Less Wrong Census/Survey

Thanks to everyone who suggested questions and ideas for the 2012 Less Wrong Census Survey. I regret I was unable to take all of your suggestions into account, because some of them were contradictory, others were vague, and others would have required me to provide two dozen answers and a thesis paper worth of explanatory text for every question anyone might conceivably misunderstand. But I did make about twenty changes based on the feedback, and *most* of the suggested questions have found their way into the text.

By ancient tradition, if you take the survey you may comment saying you have done so here, and people will upvote you and you will get karma.


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Muflax offers his feedback on some of the survey questions:

  • Treat the three digit number that you just wrote down as a length, in feet. Is the height of the tallest redwood tree in the world more or less than the number that you wrote down?: Feet! Fuck you, barbarians. I refuse to answer.
  • What is your best guess about the height of the tallest redwood tree in the world (in feet)?: Why not beard-seconds? Seriously, fuck you.
  • ...Height: 185cm (oh, now you can use sane units, you stupid imperialist pig-dogs)
[-][anonymous]9y 15

Upvoted for "beard-seconds."

2[anonymous]9ySane units for someone's height are metres, not centimetres! :-)
1tut9yYeah, I also assumed that it was meters at first. That would have been a low guess.

I took survey. Long time lurker 1St time poster

Welcome! A year ago I was in your exact same position, having just created an account in order to take the survey and get free karma. Hope you continue posting!

[-][anonymous]9y 12

Have you seen the welcome thread?

0johnlawrenceaspden9y(not a reply, putting my question here because there are so many 'I took it' comments that no one will ever see this if I just comment normally) I'm completely baffled by questions 26, 29, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39 on the iq test. (http://iqtest.dk [http://iqtest.dk]) I think I must be missing something. Can anyone explain what the answers are and why?

Lurker, first time poster and done!

[-][anonymous]9y 11

Feel free to introduce yourself in the welcome thread.

I took the survey before it was cool.

Some might claim that so did everyone else who took it. :-)

I took the survey before. It was cool.

Punctuation time!

9gjm9yI took the survey. Before, it was cool. I took the survey before it was. Cool! See also, on a similar theme: The Uncertainty of the Poet [http://happopoemouse.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/number-225-wendy-cope-uncertainty-of.html] , by Wendy Cope. [EDITED to add: I hadn't seen Jandila's comment when I wrote mine, of course.]
6[anonymous]9yI took the survey. Before, it was cool.
4TraderJoe9yI took the survey before. It. Was. Cool!
4jeremysalwen9yLuckily it will remain possible for everyone to do so for the foreseeable future.

Survey: done. Learned about deontology/virtue ethics: done.

Thanks LW. First time poster. 8 month lurker.

0johnlawrenceaspden9y(not a reply, putting my question here because there are so many 'I took it' comments that no one will ever see this if I just comment normally) I'm completely baffled by questions 26, 29, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39 on the iq test. (http://iqtest.dk [http://iqtest.dk]) I think I must be missing something. Can anyone explain what the answers are and why?
1Kindly9yI took screenshots of 34, 37, and 39 and I'm hoping to figure them out eventually if I stare at them hard enough.
0johnlawrenceaspden9yCould you do the others? Are the answers obvious?
5VincentYu9yThere are many online posts with solutions to each question on the test (some with better explanations). E.g., [1] [http://www.jperla.com/blog/post/how-to-ace-an-iq-test] and [2] [http://iqtestanswers.blogspot.com/2011/01/iq-test-dk-answers-and-reasoning.html] .
0[anonymous]9yOkay, I now know that the answers to the questions I gave up with wouldn't have occurred to me even if I had thought about them for days, except possibly one of them.
0johnlawrenceaspden9yA bit the reverse for me! I'm looking at them thinking 'how on earth did I not see that?', and feeling really stupid. I think if someone had said 'composition of functions' and 'motion in reading order' before the test I'd have got almost all the answers right. I think I had all the necessary tools and failed to see where to use them, which is a pretty good definition of 'idiot'. I bet you haven't come into contact with much of this sort of thing before, and I further bet that if you practised doing this type of test for a while then you'd start to find them very easy. I'd dispute the test's claim to be 'not culturally biased'. Obviously it doesn't require native-speaker English or literary knowledge, but equally obviously your score will depend heavily on how much you've been previously exposed to ideas about symmetries and abstract mathematics. On the other hand, it seems that you can probably learn all these ideas fairly quickly. So what your score settles down to after long practice may well be both interesting and not-culturally-biased. Some of the puzzles at the end of the test do seem to be tickling the limits of working memory.
0[anonymous]9yAs I said [http://lesswrong.com/lw/f9l/2012_less_wrong_censussurvey_now_open/7r7c], IIRC such tests are only supposed to be accurate if you hadn't done them before. I mentioned that before [http://lesswrong.com/lw/kk/why_are_individual_iq_differences_ok/76zc], but how would you go about designing an IQ test even less culturally biased than that?
0johnlawrenceaspden9ySweet! Thanks Vincent, reading those pages has added 15 points to my IQ.
2johnlawrenceaspden9yHaving read the list of recipes for constructing these matrices, this reminds me of the structure of cryptic crosswords, but done with symbols. You've got the a similar list of possible tricks for the setter to use, and the same ability to combine tricks to make a harder question. You don't have the grid pattern, whereby solving one problem gives clues to the solutions of the others, so it would be more like trying to solve a list of crossword clues without a grid. If the analogy holds, then the ability to score on these things should be highly trainable, and your score at first would be a mix of how many you've done before and your ability to intuit the patterns used in construction, with a large random component, but later on it would sort of settle down to a "speed of mental Solomonoff induction". The classic cryptic is the one in the Times newspaper. Most people at first can only solve one or two clues, but with practice the time to solve gets lower and lower. There are people who can do it as quickly as they can write the answers in. Speed seems to top out after a couple of years of doing them, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if the final speed was a correlate of whatever we mean by intelligence. The other thing one might be interested in is the speed of improvement. They might be measuring different things.
1Kindly9yThe third thing to ask about is your speed the very first time you solve one. But that's harder to analyze, since it depends on whether you've tried to solve similar problems before.
2johnlawrenceaspden9yWell, we should certainly be interested in the ability to solve new problems, especially since it looks like 'the bit of intelligence that we don't know how to program', and so a way of measuring it would be a wonderful thing. But I suspect that 'your speed the first time you try to do the Times crossword' is a fairly useless measure of that. If someone's never seen anything like it before, then their score is likely to be something like 2 completed clues after 1 hour, and I'd imagine the number of completed clues is only weakly related to how good they are at that sort of thing in general, and has a large random component. If they can solve the whole thing on their first attempt, then I'd imagine they were either an unparallelled genius or had done quite a lot of something similar before. For the Raven's matrices in the IQ test, your first ever score is likely to tell you a lot about how much attention you've previously paid to symmetries and patterns, which isn't necessarily related to either mental speed or creativity. It should pick out the mathematicians and artists, but it will probably also pick out people who are very interested in wallpaper.
3fubarobfusco9yI wonder if this critique can go further ... Let's say that what IQ tests such as RPM measured in the early 20th century is "pattern-fu"; and that pattern-fu has historically correlated with all sorts of nice things — business success, academic excellence, artistic significance, happiness in relationships, and so on. Well, that's fine, but once you start making policy decisions — hiring, college placement, military job assignment, eugenics, etc. — on the basis of pattern-fu, Campbell's law [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campbell's_law] kicks in and weakens the correlation. You get people specializing and training pattern-fu, treating improving pattern-fu as causing nice things, without that causation actually being demonstrated.
0johnlawrenceaspden9yI'd be amazed if that sort of thing wasn't happening, but you see the same sort of effect on all sorts of things which correlate, like spelling and grammar and success in studying. Presumably the hope with IQ tests would be that the amount of training you'd need to do to top out would be low compared to, say, learning English spelling. Allowing you to get a reliable, but not terribly costly, indicator of how good you'd become at all the other things with practice.

Took it. Yvain is a gentleman and a scholar for putting so much time and effort into this.

Just a few comments:

It could be a little clearer that the Calibration IQ question in Section 8 should only be answered by those people who reported an IQ in Section 5.

A GRE score question (as I requested in what is currently the fifth-most-upvoted top-level comment in the survey critiques thread) would have been nice. It was cool to see the Political Compass, AQ test, and iqtest.dk on there, though.

And done. I look forward to the Big Five scores, personally.

Commenting here because this is the highest voted comment mentioning the Big Five.

The Big Five personality test linked to in the survey is an online implementation of the Big Five Inventory (BFI). It was used in two studies: Srivastava et al. (2003) and Gosling et al. (2004.

The most recent canonical citation of the BFI is John et al. (2008). The BFI is very widely used in the literature, so descriptive statistics (i.e., mean and SD) for different populations are available from many studies.

The percentiles from the online test were approximated under a Gaussian assumption (scores on Big Five inventories are typically not well-approximated by Gaussians, so the percentile rankings are bound to be off). Everyone was normed to the same distribution (i.e., age, gender, etc. do not affect the results; only the 44 questions on the BFI do). The exact mean and SD used by the test to calculate percentile rankings are as follows (converted to the usual 5-point Likert scale):

  • E: mean = 3.30, SD = 0.88
  • A: mean = 3.66, SD = 0.70
  • C: mean = 3.40, SD = 0.76
  • N: mean = 3.15, SD = 0.85
  • O: mean = 3.85, SD = 0.65

In order to compare LW's results to norms in the literature, we need to convert the percen... (read more)

7RobertLumley9yWell, my big five scores were off. I was watching college football while I took the personality tests, which I think may have altered the results a bit. High emotions and whatnot. Edit: I took the Meyers Briggs and three of the four letters were off, so I just used what I know my type is. It's been that type for like five years and I took a test about two weeks ago, and got the same results.

I took it. Thanks for doing this every year, the results are very interesting.

Did the survey! Also, this is my first comment, as a long-standing lurker!

7MBlume9yWelcome ^_^
[-][anonymous]9y 52

Took the survey, and a lot of the extra credit. I need a karma infusion, stat!

I assumed it was okay to use a pen and paper for the CFAR questions. For a few of the questions, I found it helpful to write down the given information and some rough calculations.

Also, on the probability estimates, I pretty much tried to translate my gut feelings about things into a number. (Contrary to the sequence posts that explicitly advise us against doing that.) I haven't worked to get a rigorous probability estimates for most (if any) of the questions posed. I imagine a lot of people are in the same position, and the conclusions drawn from the data should take this into account.

[-][anonymous]9y 12

Also, on the probability estimates, I pretty much tried to translate my gut feelings about things into a number. (Contrary to the sequence posts that explicitly advise us against doing that.) I haven't worked to get a rigorous probability estimates for most (if any) of the questions posed.

Me too. In particular, in the ones about aliens, any calculation with reasonable (IMO) inputs would yield a number practically indistinguishable from 1, so I trusted my gut feelings instead as they would also consider confidence levels outside the argument.

8Davidmanheim9yIt seems strange to me that anyone would assume that it is normal to come up with reasonable estimates for some of the items asked. I have too little information, and feel that it's irresponsible to have/venture opinions when specifically ill-informed.
9[anonymous]9yWell, I guess that is the point. If they were questions to which all reasonable people, after five minutes of googling, would give more or less the same answers, the results wouldn't be terribly interesting.
2Sarokrae9yWell, no-one can update on evidence without a prior, so I just assumed if I was ill-informed I was being asked for a prior.

Done. I did all of the extra credit except the Myers-Briggs. The IQ test was the most interesting but three or four questions towards the ends were frustratingly difficult and refused to yield their secrets to me; even now I can feel lingering annoyance at the fact that I eventually gave up on them instead of wrestling with them for longer. Oh well.

3WingedViper9ySame for me here. Most of them were surprisingly easy and some (about 3 or 4) were just plain bizarre.
2[anonymous]9yFbzr bs gurz (r.t. gur bar jvgu gvp-gnp-gbr tevqf jvgu pebffrf, pvepyrf naq gevnatyrf) V sbhaq fb qribvq bs nal nccnerag ybtvp gung V jbhyqa'g or greevoyl fhecevfrq vs gurl jrer npghnyyl trarengrq ng enaqbz fb gung abg-fb-fzneg crbcyr jbhyq jnfgr cyragl bs gvzr gurl pbhyq fcraq ba bgure dhrfgvbaf vafgrnq.
1faul_sname9yV guvax gung bar znl unir orra fbzr inevrgl bs gevanel nqqvgvba/fhogenpgvba/naq/be/kbe glcr bcrengvba. V tnir hc nsgre 20 zvahgrf bs gelvat (gur svefg 38 jrer nyy cerggl fgenvtugsbejneq, ohg gung bar tbg zr).

took it. It's interesting to see how the questions change every time I take one of these.

I took the survey and all the optional questions. I love answering multiple choice questions.

7somervta9yI also love this.

Took it!

Did any one else have trouble copy-pasting the links?

I normally score insanely high on Openness to experience (says she of the massive amounts of really weird hobbies), but for this test, I scored really low on Openness. Must be feeling particularly close-minded today. Weird.

I also got really low openness on that test. I'm suspicious.

8[anonymous]9yLinks from Google Forms instructions often don't work, in my experience. They may work in some browsers but not others, and I am sure it does not help that I am often using an iPad for that sort of thing.
5[anonymous]9ySelecting the URL, right-clicking it, and picking “Open in a new tab” worked in my version of Firefox.

In Google Chrome on the Mac, the URL text would simply not stay selected. The moment I let go of the mouse after drag-selecting, the text would un-select, and the question's text field would be focused.

4maia9yHad the same problem using Chromium on Ubuntu. I hit Ctrl+C while still holding down the mouse, which worked after a couple of tries.
0thomblake9yAlso Chrome on Windows.
0blashimov9yYeah, I ended up just selecting to the end of the question: then it stayed selected. I would delete the extra words after copy paste. Obsolete point now probably, but worth looking into for next year.
7MBlume9yYeah, wouldn't stay selected.
5Rubix9yI scored really low on everything - in fact, I got 4th percentile Agreeableness. Not over-correcting for self-importance is hard! ETA: I do actually have reason to believe that I'm not an extremely disagreeable person; I'm concerned that failing to acknowledge that or present those reasons made it look like I failed to consider that possibility.
5Nick_Tarleton9yI got similarly extreme results on C/E/A (not that I disagree with the direction) and lower-than-casually-expected O: link [http://www.outofservice.com/bigfive/results/?oR=0.75&cR=0.25&eR=0.062&aR=0.417&nR=0.562&y=1990&g=m] (Edited to add: Very amused by the Myers-Briggs question "Your actions are frequently influenced by emotions". Um....)
0[anonymous]9yI feel that my extroversion and agreeableness depend on who I'm with; the test scores were slightly higher than what I'd expect for when I am with average people and somewhat lower than I'd expect for when I am with people who I usually hang around with. (Both Big Five tests I took said I was below median extroversion, but the Myers-Briggs one says I'm E.) My conscientiousness score was somewhat less than I expected (okay, I do tend to procrastinate a lot, but when I do decide to take something as a matter of life and death, I fuckin' take it as a matter of life and death), and my neuroticism score was substantially lower than I expected (which strongly disfavours one of my latest hypotheses about the reasons of my lack of romantic success).
2FourFire9yI got 1th (1st?) percentile on agreeableness, and I disagree! (yes that sounds like High Fallacy) Infact all of my Big Five scores were quite low barring N which was a nicely high number.
3[anonymous]9ythe results of the big five test were highly suspect to me as well.
2Zubon9yOh golly, now I feel bad for using my OCEAN score from a recent test rather than re-taking it. This one was atypical? Sorry for adding noise to the data.
4[anonymous]9yI had recently taken both this one [http://test.personality-project.org/] (linked to from here [http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/f0r/2012_less_wrong_census_survey_call_for/7nl1] ) and the same one as was in the survey, and the scores for all traits were within 6 percentiles of each other. (Stability is the opposite of neuroticism so I should compare N to 100-S, right?)
0kalium9yI took both of those too, and for openness I got 74th percentile on the one you linked and 9th percentile on the one in the survey.
0[anonymous]9yTo tell the whole story, I took the shorter test (the one in the survey) right after reading the results of the longer test, so priming effect might have caused the results to be closer that they would have been if I had taken the two tests several days apart.
0gwern9yI reused my scores too. That shouldn't be a problem unless the linked test is weird...
0Oligopsony9ySame here on O. I feel like the Openness questions featured a bizarrely high proportion of claims to the effect of "I am a brilliant and original thinker," and despite my attraction to weird ideas (I'm posting here, after all) I don't think I have the evidence to back up an assertion like that.
0magfrump9yMy suspicion is that the openness questions in that test are geared toward people who are also Myers-Briggs S's; I also predict that LWers will be almost entirely N's (50% confidence interval: at least 85% N), and so score significantly less openness.
2Michael_Sullivan9yI am a massive N on the meyers briggs astrology test, yes I scored 96% for openness on the big-5. I suspect our responses to questions like "I am an original thinker" have a lot to do with our social context. Right now, the people I run into day to day are fairly representative of the general population with little to skew toward toward the intellectual or original other than "people who hold down decent jobs, or did so until they retired". It doesn't take a great lack of humility to realize that compared to most of these people, I am a brilliant and original thinker. OTOH, it's not like I'm Feynman or something. If I were working somewhere that filtered strongly for intelligence, like a hot tech startup or academe and had done so for long enough, I would probably feel relatively average and very focused on how to bridge the gap between me and those at the level or two above, vs. a dim awareness of the vast intellectual and originality gap between my associates and the typical person.

I took the survey.

I took it, on a Saturday night, and scored 7 on Extroversion. Pardon me while I step out to go to a party.

Took the survey. Does the "Do you intend to have children" question refer to the immediate future, or in your lifetime?

I interpreted that question as "in your lifetime".

6[anonymous]9yMe too.
2maia9yWell crap. I didn't.
7[anonymous]9yThat's why I had proposed to split "Yes" into "Yes, soon" and "Yes, eventually".

Took it.

I took the survey.

As per ancient tradition (apparently) - give me karma

I took it!

Took the survey. Does the god question include simulators? I answered under the assumption that it did not.

I assumed the same, based on the definition of "god" as "supernatural" and the definition of "supernatural" as "involving ontologically basic mental entities."

(Oh, and for anyone who hasn't read the relevant post, the survey is quoting this.)

8gwern9yI'm pretty sure it doesn't. At least, if it does I have no idea what the 'ontologically basic mental events' qualifiers were about...
3BlazeOrangeDeer9yI think it meant "not made of smaller parts", for example ghosts would be disembodied consciousnesses not made of any atoms. I thought this was incredibly unlikely.
-3Eugine_Nier9yFor some types of entities it's not clear what that means. For example, are particles made of wave functions, or are wave functions made of particles.
3Eugine_Nier9yI honestly considered answering "Mu" to the questions that mentioned 'ontologically basic mental events' since I don't think "ontologically basic" is a meaningful concept.
0[anonymous]9yIn a similar vein, I think the one about religious views should list ignosticism (and apatheism, for that matter).
5tgb9yI, for one, answered assuming that it does include simulators. I do not know what ontologically basic mental events are and didn't bother to look it up.


Pretense for posting here:

How are the redwood tree questions relevant, don't they mostly test trivia knowledge?

Anchoring, thus random number generator a question earlier.

6tgb9yI think I messed this part up; random.org was down when I took it so I skipped that question and the next, then answered my best guess for redwood height, then realized that I could just make a random number by other means (python), and used that instead. I realized afterwards that it was probably about anchoring, but there was no obvious way to undo that section. Oh well; I was off by more than a factor of 2 regardless, despite having visited redwood national park.
3Kawoomba9yAh, I see. So this question (CFAR 6) ... ... just serves to reinforce the anchoring effect, I take it. All a setup for CFAR question 7 then, "best guess about the height of the tallest redwood tree in the world (in feet)?" If that is so, then unfortunately for people who get a random number close to the actual height of that redwood tree, and who also have some background information on redwood trees, the anchoring effect would be impossible to tell apart from actually knowing (within bounds) the answer. A number that is purposefully far off may have discriminated knowledge versus anchoring better, e.g. by using a random number from 500 to 1500 instead.
2Pfft9yI think part of the point is to make it manifestly obvious that the number is not related to the question. One of the famous early anchoring experiments had subjects watch a wheel pick a random number, and then guess how many African countries are represented in the UN.
0dbaupp9yI think using a random number gives samples with low- and high-anchoring, and statistical trickery allows them to distinguish, especially since the sample size will be relatively large. (One way would be: group the samples based on random number (e.g. 0-333, 333-666, 666-999), then do a standard ANOVA with those groups as the factors.)
2Kindly9yWhat I would do is compute a linear (or otherwise) regression between random number and height guessed. It would have also helped to have a control group to answer the question without anchoring, to determine what sort of background information people have, but that's not strictly necessary.
0[anonymous]9yI would only do that with respondents from the US -- having to convert from metres to feet is likely to weaken the anchoring effect for respondents from elsewhere.
4Kindly9yOf course, I'm a respondent from the US and I answered the question by converting from meters. So this approach isn't foolproof.
0Kawoomba9yFor anyone whose number is close to the correct answer, and who chooses a number in the vicinity as his/her own answer, the information whether that answer was picked because of anchoring effects or because of being an expert in dendrology is lost. The sample size is probably large enough to still have reasonable predictive power without these cases, but the problem could have been circumvented by e.g. providing biased numbers, both too low and too high. Any statistical trickery can only lead to a prediction about how likely people in the above scenario are to choose their answer based on anchoring versus based on knowledge, but that is using information from the other samples to speculate about the causal factors of our special cases, our special cases from above wouldn't have added any information gain. Saying "From the data, I can speculate that person A who chose a number close to the correct result and close to his random number did so because of anchoring / knowing the answer" doesn't add to the strength of your result, it's like saying that "Hypothetically, if a person A chose a number close to the correct result and close to his random number, I would expect that he would do so for reason X".

Took it. And I answered all the extra-credit questions that were applicable to me.

Took the survey, and all the extra questions.

Took the survey; doing all the extra tests for the last few extra questions was fairly interesting, not having done many personality tests or taken online IQ tests before.

Two questions, as I take the survey:

  1. What does "spiritual" mean, in the context of "Atheist [but | and not] spiritual"?
  2. I genuinely have no idea whether I'd prefer low or high redistribution of wealth. What do I tick for my political opinion?
6RobinZ9yAccording to this Google result [http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Books/2002/07/Spiritual-But-Not-Religious.aspx] , "spiritual" in this context seems to allude to a kind of private, iconoclastic, mystical religion, as opposed to public, creedal, classical religions like most sects of Christianity. I hope that helps.
5arborealhominid9yI had both of these questions as well. I've always been confused about the word "spiritual," as some people seem to use it to mean "having feelings of awe or reverence that are cognitively similar to those expressed in religious worship" while others use it to mean "actually believing in spirits." I consider myself spiritual by the first definition, but not the second. On the survey, I described myself as "atheist but spiritual," but now I'm not sure this was the most accurate description, since it falsely implies that I believe in the supernatural. As far as redistribution of wealth goes, I don't know what you should mark. I chose "Libertarian" because I am rather distrustful of centralized government, and redistribution of wealth generally depends on some sort of centralization. But I know very little about what sort of consequences redistribution of wealth would actually have, so my views on the subject are quite tentative. (I recall hearing somewhere that the Scandinavian countries scored highest on a survey of self-reported happiness, which would suggest that redistribution of wealth at least doesn't prevent a society from being largely happy. If anyone can confirm or deny this, I would much appreciate it.)
3[anonymous]9yI took "spiritual" to mean in this context that you don't believe in ontologically basic mental entities, but still embrace feelings of wonder, majesty, euphoria, etc. typically associated with religions when contemplating/experiencing the natural world. Do you not have a preference for low/high redistribution of wealth because you haven't studied enough economics, or because you have studied economics and haven't found a satisfying answer? (Alternatively, trying to answer this one question might just not be worth your time. If that's the case, I'd leave it blank. Or if you're otherwise choosing between two positions, flip a coin)
2Ezekiel9yNotice that other people answering my question had different interpretations. I left it blank. Because I haven't studied economics beyond the Wikipedia level, and systems with large numbers of humans involved are really, really complicated. Why so many democratic citizens feel qualified to intuit their way to an opinion is beyond me.
1[anonymous]9ySystematic human irrationality? [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_biases_in_judgment_and_decision_making] If learning about economics is something worthwhile for you, then I recommend picking up a good macroeconomics textbook and working through it. A good 101 textbook will outline simple but useful models that can help us understand the economy. (This is like how statistical mechanics can help us understand thermodynamic systems without knowing information about each individual particle.) Alternatively, there should be open online courses from MIT, Harvard, etc. if that is more your style.
2Giles9yFor 2. - you could fill out the political compass [http://www.politicalcompass.org/] survey (it comes up later in the survey under "unreasonably long and complicated questions"). Alternatively you could pick the political labels that you think might apply to you and then choose one at random.
-2faul_sname9yThat one didn't seem to have slanted questions at all. (e.g. "It is regrettable that many personal fortunes are made by people who simply manipulate money and contribute nothing to their society.").
1Jakeness9yFor 1, I took it as meaning having a belief in some form of soul, afterlife, or karma.
3adamisom9yBut I absolutely believe in karma. I guess that makes me spiritual. The things you find out about yourself eh?
1[anonymous]9yeven if you interpret karma as reddit/lw karma, or social consequences, "absolutely" is too much. don't bet your house on it.
4adamisom9yI mean LW karma (plus I'm a Redditor too) - from my study of human societies, I believe my remark is called a "joke" - though I admit some people are bad at making jokes :p
0[anonymous]9yI'd say, having the alief [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Alief] that, as IIRC someone on LW put it (I can't recall the exact wording and the search engine doesn't seem to help me), you are a timeless optimization process of which your current incarnation is a mere approximation.
4[anonymous]9yThat's not spiritual.

Just took the survey. Out of curiosity, why is it ancient tradition to upvote for this?

During the part of the survey where you describe your gender and sexual orientation, I thought it might be a good idea to have another question asking to rate your libido on a numbered scale. Perhaps also another question asking your romantic disposition, as it is possible to be asexual but not aromantic.

Out of curiosity, why is it ancient tradition to upvote for this?

The underlying reasons are set forth in the Sequences, as you'd expect. :)

No. Stop. The only reason necessary is because we want more of that behavior, right?

You're entirely correct. And if you read that post, you'll see why your reply is funny. :)

5Decius9yThe behavior of posting comments to the effect that we have taken the survey?
3adamisom9yYes. Haha... Obviously it's not the target behavior, but I, at least, assume that almost everyone who has commented to that effect has actually done it.
3FourFire9yYes I was wanting for a libido rate question too.
[-][anonymous]9y 48

I took the survey! Including some but not all of the extra credit.

Took it, did most of the extra credit questions. I think that a mixture of already being familiar with the test, and being used to consciously correcting for some bias about self perception may have thrown off my personality stuff.

Well... that was a tense couple of hours (damn long survey) I answered every question except for the last.

Took the survey. Called it a day at the "unreasonable" extra credit questions.

[-][anonymous]9y 48


-2blashimov9yI am amused that the "I'm done" comments seem to be random karma generators.

Took the survey. Feels like I only very recently took the last one.

Took the survey and all extra questions bar IQ test.

I took the survey and participated in the complementary karma orgy!

2adamisom9yThe best kind! (except not really)

Took it. Nothing like a census/survey to make you feel like part of a community.


Advisory: RANDOM.ORG will be temporarily unavailable on Sunday 2012-11-04 due to a system upgrade.

Also, in retrospect, I misremembered my own age. It's been ... a busy year.

Took the survey.

I took the survey.

I am curious to know whether CFAR questions #2 and #4 are supposed to have a "right" answer.

I'm the CFAR person who is responsible for those questions, and I'll explain them and report on the results after the survey is closed. Until then... no comment.

4[anonymous]9yROT13ing the following due to Unnamed's concerns [http://lesswrong.com/lw/f9l/2012_less_wrong_censussurvey_now_open/7r1f] (do not decode unless you've already taken the survey): Va Dhrfgvba Gjb, V'z cerggl fher gur “zber zbarl yngre” nafjre vf fhccbfrq gb or gur evtug nafjre sbe zbfg nqhygf, ohg V pna vzntvar cyragl bs fvghngvbaf jurer gur “yrff zbarl evtug abj” nafjre jbhyq znxr zber frafr, r.t. n grrantre yvivat jvgu gurve cneragf jub'f nyzbfg eha bhg bs cbpxrg zbarl guvf jrrx. V fhttrfg pbagebyyvat sbe jurgure gur erfcbaqrag'f nafjre gb gur “Vapbzr” dhrfgvba jnf cbfvgvir jura nanylfvat guvf. Va Dhrfgvba Sbhe, jvgu Qeht O gur cngvrag jbhyq unir gjb uhaqerq svsgl srjre qbyynef ohg gjragl srjre urnqnpurf, fb gur dhrfgvba vf jurgure n ybj-vapbzr crefba fubhyq or jvyyvat gb cnl gjryir qbyynef naq n unys gb cerirag n urnqnpur. Hayrff jubrire jebgr gur dhrfgvba unq va zvaq n eryngviryl uvtu guerfubyq sbe jung pbhagf nf “ybj vapbzr”, V'q fnl gung gurl fubhyqa'g naq gung Qeht O vf orggre.

Zl guvaxvat ba gur qeht dhrfgvba jnf gung gur urnqnpurf frrzrq fb qrovyvgngvat gung gurl jbhyq or ceriragvat fbzrbar sebz jbexvat. Juvyr O vf boivbhfyl gur zbfg rssvpvrag, N fgvyy fnirf 20 urnqnpurf cre lrne. V pbasrff gung V qvqa'g npghnyyl qb gur zngu ng gur gvzr, ohg rira vs ur'f jbexvat ng zvavzhz jntr (va gur HF), vg fgvyy znxrf frafr gb ohl N: guerr ubhe zvtenvarf, gvzrf gjragl urnqnpurf cre lrne gvzrf frira qbyynef naq gjragl svir pragf cre ubhe (zvavzhz jntr) pbzrf bhg gb or sbhe uhaqerq naq guvegl svir qbyynef, juvpu vf nyzbfg gjvpr nf zhpu nf gur qvssrerapr va pbfg.

4[anonymous]9yJryy, abg nyy gur urnqnpurf jbhyq bpphe qhevat jbex ubhef; fbzr bs gurz jbhyq bpphe qhevat gvzr fur jnfa'g tbvat gb jbex naljnl, fhpu nf riravatf naq jrrxraqf. Fb lbh jbhyq unir gb pbafvqre ubj zhpu fur inyhrf yrvfher gvzr, gbb. Gur nccebkvzngvba gung gvzr vf shatvoyr vf cnegvphyneyl cbbe sbe ybj-vapbzr crbcyr, nf cbvagrq bhg (naq va fbzr zber frevbhf cynpr gbb, ohg V qba'g erzrzore jurer evtug abj).
4Kaj_Sotala9yV gubhtug gur dhrfgvba jnf naablvat naq pbagevirq, nf vg znxrf ab frafr gb unir zr gel gb jrvtu gur qvfhgvyvgl bs gur cngvrag'f cnlvat if. fhssrevat jura V pbhyq whfg unir nfxrq uvz. Gung fnvq, gur zvtenvarf fbhaqrq dhvgr uryyvfu, naq V svtherq gung vs gur cngvrag jnf fb cbbe gung gur qvssrerapr va cevpr jbhyq unir orra n ernyyl urnil oheqra ba uvf svanaprf, gur qrfpevcgvba jbhyq unir hfrq fbzr zber rkgerzr jbeq guna whfg "ybj-vapbzr". Fb V jrag jvgu gur zbfg rkcrafvir bcgvba.
4[anonymous]9yBa gur bgure unaq, V unq gnxra “ybj-vapbzr” gb or n rhcurzvfz sbe ‘vaqvtrag’, fb V jrag jvgu O. Gurl fubhyqa'g unir zvkrq n dhnyvgngvir jbeq yvxr gung jvgu dhnagvgngvir qngn nobhg cevprf naq ahzore bs urnqnpurf.
0Eugine_Nier9yGurer znl or n qvssrerapr va pbzzba hfntr orgjrra gur HF naq Vgnyl.
0[anonymous]9yGur yvgreny genafyngvba bs “ybj vapbzr” vfa'g irel pbzzba va Vgnyvna (rkprcg va arjfcncref/GI arjf, juvpu V ernq/jngpu irel fryqbz gurfr qnlf, jurer V guvax vg zrnaf fbzrguvat nccebkvzngryl yvxr ‘obggbz dhvagvyr va Vgnyl’ ohg V'z abg fher).
-4Eugine_Nier9yJryy, gung'f ybjre guna gur obggbz dhvagvyr va gur HF, rfcrpvnyyl gurfr qnlf.
3maia9yVg vf qrsvavgryl pbagevirq, naq frrzrq yvxr n jrveq 'engvbanyvgl' dhrfgvba, orpnhfr vg nccrnef gb ernyyl whfg or nobhg genqrbssf onfrq ba gur cngvrag'f cersreraprf. Ohg, gubhtu V qba'g xabj gur 'evtug' nafjre, V fhfcrpg vg zvtug unir gb qb jvgu guvf ovnf, ubjrire: uggc://ra.jvxvcrqvn.bet/jvxv/Qrpbl_rssrpg
0[anonymous]9yNterrq. Lrnu, gung znxrf frafr.
2Said Achmiz9yV nterr gung univat gur qbpgbe qrpvqr (orgjrra N naq O, lrf), engure guna whfg nfx gur cngvrag, frrzf cbvagyrff. Vg'f n znggre bs gur cngvrag'f cersreraprf. Nf n fvqr abgr, V qba'g guvax jr pna nffhzr gung gur qvfhgvyvgl gb gur cngvrag bs gur urnqnpurf vf fvzcyl rdhny gb gur vapbzr ybfg.
0MBlume9yQbrfa'g frrz jebat gb fnl gung vg'f ng yrnfg gur vapbzr ybfg, gubhtu, juvpu vf nyy lbh arrq gb bireqrgrezvar na nafjre.
2Said Achmiz9yGb bireqrgrezvar gur nafjre? Qb rkcynva! Abgr gung gur vapbzr pnyphyngvba nffhzrf gung n guerr ubhe urnqnpur erfhygf va gur crefba jbexvat guerr ubhef yrff guna ur bgurejvfr jbhyq; guvf vf uneqyl n whfgvsvrq nffhzcgvba. Creuncf gur urnqnpurf ner qvfgevohgrq enaqbzyl guebhtubhg gur qnl, va juvpu pnfr gurl znl qrgenpg sebz jbex, sebz yrvfher gvzr, sebz fyrrc... be creuncf ur zbfgyl trgf gurz jura ur pbzrf ubzr sebz jbex (zl zbgure unf unq fhpu rkcrevraprf). V guvax fbzr inevnag bs fhpu fvghngvbaf (naq gur erfhygvat ybj inyhr cynprq ba crefbany fhssrevat) znl rkcynva gur nggvghqr gung ybj-vapbzr crbcyr (ng yrnfg, gubfr fhpu nf V nz npdhnvagrq jvgu, zlfrys vapyhqrq) gnxr gbjneq zrqvpny rkcraqvgherf.
0[anonymous]9yLrf, gung gbb. V'ir arire unq n frevbhf urnqnpur qhevat bssvpr ubhef va jrrxqnlf gung V pna erzrzore (hayrff V nyfb unq fbzr bgure vyyarff fhpu nf n syh), cebonoyl nf n erfhyg bs gur snpg gung V qevax ybgf bs fghss jvgu pnssrvar qhevat gubfr gvzrf naq irel yvggyr qhevat bgure gvzrf, naq jnf fhopbafpvbhfyl Trarenyvmvat Sebz Bar Rknzcyr.
4MixedNuts9yGur dhrfgvba fnlf gur cngvrag vf vapncnpvgngrq ol rnpu zvtenvar urnqnpur sbe guerr ubhef. Gur HF zvavzhz jntr vf $7.25. Guvf jbexf bhg gb gjragl-gjb qbyynef cre zvtenvar urnqnpur, orsber gnxvat vagb nppbhag gung gubfr fhpx vafnaryl. Gur cngvrag znl or cbbere guna gung be hanoyr gb jbex (zber), gubhtu. Vs V jrer gur qbpgbe V'q bssre gur pubvpr orgjrra N naq O, abg zragvba P orpnhfr bs gur rssrpg guvf dhrfgvba grfgf, naq erpbzzraq N vs nfxrq.
1[anonymous]9yLrf, gung'f jung V jbhyq npghnyyl qb, gbb. Cbffvoyl V'q rkcyvpvgyl gryy ure gung vs fur jbhyq cnl gjryir qbyynef svsgl gb nibvq bar urnqnpur fur fubhyq pubbfr N naq bgurejvfr fur fubhyq pubbfr O. Lbh xabj jul P vf gurer? V ubarfgyl qba'g unir n pyhr; V nffhzrq gung rvgure vg jnf n glcb be gurl jrer grfgvat jurgure jr jrer cnlvat nggragvba. V pna'g vzntvar nal ernfba jungfbrire jul nalobql jub unf npghnyyl ernq gur dhrfgvba jbhyq cersre P gb O.
3MixedNuts9yuggc://ra.jvxvcrqvn.bet/jvxv/Qrpbl_rssrpg Rkvfgf va nzbron synibe! uggc://efco.eblnyfbpvrglchoyvfuvat.bet/pbagrag/rneyl/2010/08/05/efco.2010.1045.shyy.ugzy
4pengvado9yV erwrpg gung rkprcgvba. Gurer vf ab "guvf jrrx" va "eha bhg bs cbpxrg zbarl". Vs lbh'er ehaavat bhg, gura bar jrrx jnfa'g n ybat rabhtu cynaavat ubevmba. V xabj zbfg crbcyr yvir jvgu n onax onynapr arne mreb, ohg zbfg crbcyr ner vafnar. Vs lbh qba'g unir rabhtu bs n ohssre gb cerirag lbh sebz fhqqrayl orvat oebxr, gura lbh'er yvivat orlbaq lbhe zrnaf. Naq vs lbh jnag gb vapernfr lbhe zrnaf, gura gnxr gur "zber zbarl yngre". Gur bayl jnl gur rkprcgvba jbhyq jbex vf vs lbh'er pbasvqrag gung lbh'yy arire or guvf pnfu-fgenccrq ntnva.
0[anonymous]9yBe znlor vs sbe fbzr ernfba lbh qb arrq gung zbarl evtug abj (fnl, lbh jnag gb ohl n gvpxrg sbe n pbapreg be fbzrguvat).
0pengvado9yFher, vs lbh jba'g or zvffvat na rdhnyyl tbbq bccbeghavgl gb ghea qbyynef vagb hgvybaf arkg gvzr lbh eha bhg. Urapr V fnvq "guvf pnfu-fgenccrq".
3William_Quixote9yNot affiliated with CFAR, but in my view V’z abg fher vs gur crefba jub jebgr gur dhrfgvba unf unq erny pynffvp zvtenvarf be abg. Sbe nalbar jub unf rire unq zvtenvarf, gur dhrfgvba unf na hanzovthbhf evtug nafjre.

Sbe nalbar ng nyy, gur dhrfgvba unf na hanzovthbhf evtug nafjre, naq vg vf: Lbh fubhyq gryy gur cngvrag nobhg qehtf N naq O naq yrg gurz qrpvqr ubj gb znxr gur genqrbss orgjrra zbarl naq cnva/gvzr/vapbairavrapr. Hasbeghangryl guvf jnfa'g bar bs gur bcgvbaf.

1[anonymous]9yV jbhyq unir cvpxrq gung bar gbb.
0Bugmaster9yV cvpxrq gur frpbaq qeht, orpnhfr V nffhzrq gung zl tbny jnf gb zvavzvmr urnqnpurf, abg gb bcgvzvmr pbfg/urnqnpur erqhpgvba. Gurer'f n tbbq punapr gung n ybj-vapbzr cngvrag fvzcyl jbhyq abg or noyr gb nssbeq gur zber rkcrafvir qeht, ab znggre ubj zhpu zber rssvpvrag vg jnf va gur ybat grez. Gung fnvq, lrf, cerfragvat gur cngvrag jvgu n pubvpr vf pyrneyl n orggre bcgvba.
0William_Quixote9yLrnu, nterr gung vs lbh pna tvir gur cngvrag gur pubvpr gurer vf ab ernfba gb gnxr vg njnl sebz gurz.
4[anonymous]9yRira vs gurl yvir ba yrff guna gjryir uhaqerq svsgl-svir qbyynef cre lrne, yvxr unys gur jbeyq'f cbchyngvba [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2082385/We-1--You-need-34k-income-global-elite--half-worlds-richest-live-U-S.html] ?
2[anonymous]9yVs lbh yvir va gung yvggyr, arvgure vf nssbeqnoyr. V yvir ba sbhe qvtvgf HFQ cre lrne naq V cvpxrq gur zbfg rkcrafvir bcgvba, univat unq ybgf bs gebhoyr jvgu zvtenvarf. Znxr bs gung jung lbh jvyy.
0Said Achmiz9yV nz dhvgr flzcngurgvp gb guvf fragvzrag (frr zl pbzzrag urer [http://lesswrong.com/lw/f9l/2012_less_wrong_censussurvey_now_open/7r8r]), ohg V srry gur arrq gb cynl qrivy'f nqibpngr urer: ubj ynetr jbhyq gur qvssrerapr va cevpr unir gb or sbe gur pubvpr gb ab ybatre or boivbhf? P.S. Should we edit these posts to de-rot13 them after the survey closes (for the benefit of future people reading them)?
0faul_sname9ySbe zr, gur cevpr qvssrerapr jbhyq unir gb or ba gur beqre bs n gubhfnaq qbyynef n lrne be fb, naq nobhg bar guveq gb bar unys bs gung gb n zvavzhz-jntr Nzrevpna. Sbe n ybj-vapbzr crefba ryfrjurer va gur jbeyq, gur nafjre jbhyq or qvssrerag. Va trareny, gjragl zvtenvarf gvzrf 3 ubhef cre zvtenvar gvzrf gur znetvany ubheyl inyhr bs abg univat n zvtenvar.a Either way, I think. It's not that hard to de-rot13 them. I'm sure someone has written a browser extension that makes it even more trivial than the already easy rot13.com (and if not, I can write one).

Survey taken while it was in stealth mode. Good to know it's officially out now!

A funny thing about the calibration question. Last year I gave myself (IIRC) a 35% probability of having the right answer within the interval asked, and got the answer right. This year I missed by two decades, at 55% confidence. Surprisingly that's actually progress - the Brier score tells me this year's is a better result than last year's.


Took it.

My browser was unable to copy/past most of the links which led to less than initially intended participation on my part. For instance, I took the big 5 quiz because the address was easy to glance at and type into another tab but didn't take other surveys/tests in the bonus question sections because i didn't feel like tabbing back and forth to get the web address correct.

My first census at LW is done. I gave up on the questions requiring to answer other surveys before, apart from the political compass one which I already did. Looking forward for the results.

I took the survey. I did Political Compass for the first time, and I found its questions and results rather baffling. Political Compass themselves admit it is culturally biased and mainly for western democracies.

9Eugine_Nier9yThat's the thing about traditionalism. A lot of it depends on which tradition you're from.

Took it - I hadn't taken an IQ test before, and I found it interesting (and, for the final few questions, quite difficult).

-2RobinZ9yAddendum: I don't recall seeing the question about the "troll toll" when I took the survey; my response would be that V snibe vg, ohg thneqrqyl.
-2adamisom9yHmm. I got 110. And then because that's ridiculous, and I have an ego, I took it a second--and third--time, subsequently scoring 126 and 140. (I reported 125 on the survey because I know 110 isn't right.) And while I was trying harder on the second and third attempts (as a result of realizing 'oh, I guess most of these actually are easy to everyone else, not just me, so I shouldn't be so leisurely'), I wasn't superbly focused on any--for example, I became distracted on the third attempt with something in another tab for more than 10 minutes before remembering it. All I'm saying is I'm dubious of this IQ test.

Back in grade school, I took several real-life IQ tests and usually scored in the high 130's to low 140's. I'd heard of Raven's Progressive Matrices, but this was the first time I'd taken that type of test. It was quite humbling. I got 122 on iqtest.dk. From what I've heard in #lesswrong, most people score low on this test.

I opened the test again in a different browser, VPN'd from a different country. It gave the same questions. That means your subsequent tests aren't valid. You already knew many of the answers. Worse, you knew which questions had stumped you before. You were probably thinking about those questions before you started the test a second or third time.

5[anonymous]9yI got 135... Was I the only one who realized I could go back to previous questions, or something?
4RichardKennaway9yDoes anyone know what IQ it gives to a perfect set of answers? Its picture of a bell curve superimposed on a scale tops out at about 140.
1faul_sname9yI got 138, and I'm fairly certain I got one question wrong. I don't think it tops out at 140.
4[anonymous]9ySee this comment of mine [http://lesswrong.com/lw/f9l/2012_less_wrong_censussurvey_now_open/7r6g].
1AngryParsley9ySD was 15 and the tests were geared for high-IQ people. I've taken tests meant for average people and gotten hilarious results (163).
3[anonymous]9yErrr... Did you notice that on iqtest.dk you were allowed to skip to earlier and later questions by clicking on the numbers on the left? The first time I took that test, about a year ago, I didn't, so I wasted plenty of time on certain difficult questions before giving up.
1AngryParsley9yYes, I noticed I could skip around. I mostly did the questions in order, since they got progressively harder. Still, I ran out of time and had to guess on the last two.

It suffers the usual problems of tests, among which are that test-taking is itself a skill.

That said, I don't think re-taking the test produces a valid result - a lot of the time I spent on the test was figuring out the rules of the puzzles as much as solving them. The problematic nature of the initial result is a reflection of the weakness of the test, as you noted, but re-taking the test simply introduces a new suite of problems.

9[anonymous]9yI'm pretty sure you're not supposed to do that -- IIRC tests are designed to give reasonably accurate results in absence of practice effects. I had taken this same test one year ago and I'm pretty sure I answered certain questions faster than I would have if I had never seen them before (though this effect was almost exclusively in the easy, early questions, which took a very small part of the 40 minutes anyway -- I did score 9 points higher than last year but I had a headache (and hadn't realized I could go back to previous questions) back then so that sounds about right).
2adamisom9yAlso, I failed to answer quite a few questions when I got 110, thinking I'd be penalized for wrong answers... Apparently I failed at reading the directions which state you should answer all of them facepalm
7William_Quixote9yI reported my first try answer (which also seemed unrealistically low to me). I think on balance it might be best for everyone to just report their first try answer accepting the test is normed low and then for macro analysis it can be adjusted / compared with another test like SAT scores
3Sarokrae9yCalibration for other people looking at this comment: I took the test and got 10 points higher than my self-reported IQ. I think it picks up on a different kind of reasoning than the usual type of IQ test!

Took survey, not yet contributed to the site, had lurked a lot over the past few months.

I took the survey. Skipped out at the "unreasonably long" section. Will it handle things properly if I return to it another day?

Note, if you ask me question that I can look up in two seconds flat, and the next question is "without checking sources, assess the probability of the last answer being correct" then I'm not sure you're going to get the results you're looking for. I consider the Internet as part of my partly trustable memory that I reference when I want to achieve success in the world I.e. all the time - but its not clear that's a commonly held opinion.

6RobinZ9yAs a general rule, when taking surveys to test your knowledge, I believe you are supposed to not look up anything unless specifically instructed. It's like crossword puzzles in that way.
4DuncanF9yAh. I took the explicit rules for section 7 and my natural tendencies and didn't pick up on the intent for section 8 until it was too late.
1RobinZ9yI didn't notice that, there - that's probably a significant flaw in the methodology.
[-][anonymous]9y 44

Took the survey! :)

Thank you Yvain!

Took it and laughed several times.

Took the survey. Somehow I've managed to lose a decent chunk of IQ over the past 15 years...

6[anonymous]9yIIRC, some tests are designed to have a standard deviation of 24 rather than 15; perhaps the test you took 15 years ago was one of those, so that a 148 on that scale would correspond to a 130 on this one.
4KrisC9yIQ does normalize with increasing age.
4faul_sname9yAlso normalizes with decreasing age. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regression_toward_the_mean]
[-][anonymous]9y 43

I managed to keep myself up after several days of sleep deprivation to complete all that I could but the very last part.

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply

I answered every question, and enjoyed doing so. Thank you for putting this together. (c:

Took it. I think the example of 0.5 being interpreted as 0.5% and not as 50% anchored me a bit, but don't see a way to circumvent it.

7beoShaffer9y.X will be interpreted as 0.X% and not as X0% ?

The "income" question doesn't state pre- or post-tax — you should say you intend one or the other.

Also individual versus household. I went with individual.

I interpreted the question as pre-tax, individual income.

0gwern9yYeah, isn't that always the default assumption about 'income' unless one is involved in a taxation discussion?
2thomblake9yI always interpret it as pre-tax household, but that happens to give me the same result most years.
8Kaj_Sotala9yCurious: I automatically assume all such questions to be pre-tax, as is the convention around here. Are there regions where post-tax is the default?

Took it!

I am impressed with Yvain's thoroughness overall in drafting this survey.

Yay! Test taken including all extra questions

Easy and entertaining. Done!

Ì took it. ALL of it.

Took it and decided to de-lurk for the first time. (Hello!) I found the experience rather humbling.

I also de-lurked for the first time to take the survey!

I'm too intimidated to post anything else. :(

8[anonymous]9yI suggest starting from the welcome thread [http://lesswrong.com/lw/do9/welcome_to_less_wrong_july_2012/]. :-)
[-][anonymous]9y 40

Survey: taken.

I finished the survey! Including the Unreasonably Long and Complicated part which i admit took even longer than i expected.

[-][anonymous]9y 39

Took the survey, completed all applicable questions. I'm surprised at how many de-lurkers are a direct consequence of this survey. Welcome, everyone :)

I really enjoyed taking the survey. Akrasia! Hope we weren't testing the RNG site. Since it was down I used a more local randomizer.

1[anonymous]9y??? (Did you procrastinate something else more important to take it?)
3KrisC9yIt wouldn't be procrastinating if I didn't. Raises the question: try to write a witty response or get back to work?

Done. All of it!

(Also, first LW comment: check.)

6beoShaffer9yHi kannd, welcome to less wrong. You might want to take a look at the welcome thread [http://lesswrong.com/lw/90l/welcome_to_less_wrong_2012/], especially if you haven't read much LW yet.

I took the first survey. Everything seemed great! Thanks a lot Yvain. Unfortunately, I couldn't do the last extra questions. Sorry :( The results should be interesting...

Hello all! Test taken, first post / de-lurking complete. I really enjoy the site and the discussions, and will contribute fairly soon...

Why do I get the feeling that you will tease me about the discrepancy between my probability estimates on aliens in the milky way contra the rest of the universe?

That's actually probably my favorite single question: when I first took the survey I went 'universe: dunno, maybe 60%, Milky Way: eh, 30%.....wait a second aren't there more than 2 galaxies‽'

5gjm9y(Nice interrobang.) There's only something wrong with holding both "Pr(intelligent life in Milky Way) non-negligible" and "Pr(intelligent life in observable universe) not-almost-1" if the events "life in galaxy 1", "life in galaxy 2", etc., are independent or approximately so. So if you assign substantial probability to propositions like "intelligent life basically can't actually emerge naturally at all, but we were put here by a god" or "subtle variations in the laws of physics across the universe mean that our galaxy is suitable for intelligent life but most others aren't" then you can consistently give such answers. I can't think of any reason for the right sort of intergalactic correlation that's likely to be thought probable by many LWers, though.
-1Eugine_Nier9ySee my comment here [http://lesswrong.com/lw/f9l/2012_less_wrong_censussurvey_now_open/7rea].
2wedrifid9yIn which case your probability estimates would seem to suggest exogenesis [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panspermia].
-4Eugine_Nier9ySee my comment here [http://lesswrong.com/lw/f9l/2012_less_wrong_censussurvey_now_open/7rea].
1simplicio9yI was pretty sure there were about 100 billion galaxies so I just divided by that factor.
5Eugine_Nier9yThat assumes aliens arising in each galaxy is an independent event when conditioning on your uncertainty.
3simplicio9y...why yes, yes it does. Dur.
-4Eugine_Nier9yAs I pointed out here [http://lesswrong.com/lw/f9l/2012_less_wrong_censussurvey_now_open/7rcg] that logic doesn't work.
3gwern9yThere's >170 billion galaxies in the observable universe; you need to make some pretty strong assumptions to overcome a 1:170,000,000,000 difference.
8Eugine_Nier9yActually you don't. Consider the following highly simplified toy model. You're not sure where the great filter is but you think there is a 50% chance it's before evolving intelligence (scenario A), and 50% that it's afterward (scenario B). In scenario A each galaxy only has a 0.1% chance of having intelligent life. (Note that nevertheless the observable universe will still have life somewhere since 0.1% is a lot more than 1/170,000,000,000.) In scenario B each galaxy has (multiple) planets with intelligent life in it. Combining these two scenarios gives 100% for life in the universe and 50.1% for life in the galaxy. By changing these numbers and adding more scenarios you can get different but similar results. You should try this yourself, it's a good way to get an intuition for how Bayesian probabilities work. For example, try adding a scenario C where intelligent life is extremely rare and we exist only due to the anthropic principal. What happens when you assign scenario C 40% and keep scenarios A and B equally likely?
4gwern9yI'm mentally tired from banging my head against R and can't think through this, so I'm dropping it here.
1Eugine_Nier9yFeel free to try tomorrow.
6jooyous9yI found that section SO hard to answer without wishful thinking getting in the way. So I just left them all blank. I WANT smart alien friends! =/
1Kawoomba9yThere are good justifications for putting down very similar probabilities, to the point that they round to the same number.
0[anonymous]9yAny answer is consistent as long as P(aliens in universe) > P(aliens in milky way), but the ratio implicitly depends on how densely populated you think the universe is conditional on aliens existing at all, assuming aliens are distributed randomly among galaxies.

Took it.

I was about to kick myself for not checking last year's answers to all the probability questions (I don't feel I've received much new information or insights that should cause me to change my mind, so I felt I should have averaged my current subjective estimate with last year's).

But then I found that my subjective estimates were remarkably stable! (with possible slight drift towards 50%). Not sure what to make of that. Was going to post answers here to illustrate but wasn't sure if that violated protocol because of anchoring. (People should really take the survey before reading any of the comments in any case).

P.S. I took the survey.

0[anonymous]9yWhat about rot13'ing them? (You'd have to spell numbers out, of course.)
0Giles9yThere's one additional spoiler here not related to the probability questions. ROT13'd: * Znal Jbeyqf: fvkglsvir (jnf friragl) * Nyvraf: gjraglsvir (jnf gjraglsvir) * Nyvraf va zvyxl jnl: svsgrra (jnf gra) * Fhcreangheny: svir (jnf gjb) * Tbq: sbhe (jnf bar) * Eryvtvba: guerr (jnf bar) * Pelbavpf: gra (jnf guvegl) * Nagv-ntnguvpf: rvtug (jnf frira) * Fvzhyngvba: svsglsvir (jnf friragl) * Jnezvat: rvtuglsvir (jnf rvtuglsvir) * Ab TPE orsber gjraglbar uhaqerq: sbegl (jnf sbegl) Nyfb, (nqqvgvbany fcbvyre) PSNE gevpxrq zr jvgu dhrfgvba sbhe! V guvax gur pbeerpg nafjre vf N vs lbh jbhyq fcraq gjryir qbyynef svsgl gb nibvq n urnqnpur, juvpu fbhaqf yvxr n tbbq ohl gb zr. EDIT: removed a couple of numbers that I missed
0[anonymous]9ySpell out the numbers, or ROT-13 leaves them alone...

Took the survey; Did everything but the IQ test. I recognized some of the questions, and I decided I didn't have an extra 40 minutes to spare.

Took it. Note for people on iOS device--iqtest.dk requires Flash, and doesn't tell you what's wrong if you load it on an iPhone /iPad/iPod.

Took it.

Thanks for the test Yvain! I did all of it and wasted too much time in the surveys (didn't want to fill in with an existing one in case of calibration errors. In addition to everyone else's comments, I personally didn't find any of the quizzes problematic, got a similar Big Five score to usual, and actually got 10 points more in my IQ test than my self-reported IQ. Looking forward to the results!

Does "your country" refer to the country you were born in, are a citizen of, or are currently residing in?

Also: Took it. Karma me gentlemen :D

5adamisom9yI'm hoping that this survey reveals that it is incorrect to refer to us LessWrongers as "gentlemen" ... And yes, you may take that either way. After all, there were questions on both our gender and our # of sexual partners.
4[anonymous]9yIt says, That should coincide with the country you're a citizen of except in exceptional circumstances.
5Giles9yI don't really consider nationality to be part of my self identity - I'm not sure how unusual I am in this regard. I'd suggest changing next year's survey to include "what country are you in right now" (unambiguous so hopefully less noisy) plus another question about national identity which would permit non-state or non-officially recognized nations as answers and also permit none/not sure. Essentially giving nationality the same treatment already given to sex/gender.
4MixedNuts9yDisagree. "What country do you most identify with" covers people who care about nationality, immigrants who care about the land they live in even if they aren't citizens, children of immigrants who identify most with their parents' origin country even if they don't live there and aren't citizens, expats who reject cultural assimilation, would-be immigrants that can't permanently live in their country of choice but have assimilated, angsty movie characters who are torn between two or more countries and make compromises, people who don't give a hoot but can't ignore where their culture comes from, or where they have ties, or where they were raised, or where they pay taxes. "What country are you in" covers native or assimilated members of a culture who are not vacationing abroad, expats visiting their home country, and you.
3[anonymous]9yI'm starting to think that different people interpret “identify” in different ways, also from discussion in the Call For Critiques/Questions thread. If I'm asked whether I'm male or female, I answer I'm male, with no hesitation whatsoever. This is what I'd call “identifying as male”. OTOH this doesn't mean that I'm proud of being male, that I endorse maleness (whatever that would mean), that I think males are more awesome than females¹ or even that I try to conform to any cultural stereotype of maleness solely because it's a cultural stereotype of maleness.² ISTM that certain people understand “identify” this latter way. “What country do you currently live in” would be better IMO; with your version, someone who happens to be on holiday abroad when taking the test would have to give a somewhat irrelevant answer, whereas “currently” could be interpreted more broadly as I did for the employment question [http://lesswrong.com/lw/f9l/2012_less_wrong_censussurvey_now_open/7r65]. Or if you really want to operationalize it, “in what country would it be the most convenient for you to attend a LW meetup in the next few months”. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. In fact, I find the majority of males to be pretty boring. 2. Indeed, my latest Facebook status was “I wish Facebook had a way to automatically hide all posts about football (soccer)” (but in Italian), and it has been liked by 11 females and 3 males so far.
0aelephant9yI see what you're saying, but I don't really identify with any country. My country of birth was an accident & the country I live in now is governed by Communists. If you do identify with a country, you might want to take a close look at that. Are you cheering for that team just because of an accident of birth, or because it is really worth cheering for?
3[anonymous]9yI don't cheer for it. I identify with it because I've spent most of my life in it, natively speak its language, am more intimately familiar with its culture than with that of any other country, and so are most of my friends. But it's not like I'm proud of being from here or anything like that. See my reply to Giles [http://lesswrong.com/lw/f9l/2012_less_wrong_censussurvey_now_open/7rcw].
0aelephant9yI understand that & I agree. I saw your reply, I just wanted to clarify, not necessarily for you, but for any other people who happened to be reading the thread.
0[anonymous]9yYes. Using “identify” in a survey would be no improvement, if so many people would interpret it the wrong way. Maybe it should use “consider yourself to be” or something like that.
0richardlitt9yI presumed it was the country which you culturally identified most with.
0biased_tracer9yI presumed it refers to the currently residing country.

Took the survey!

Took it. The autism test makes it seem like it is easy for people to get more or less autistic with time. I would have scored much higher 10 years ago.

I took the survey too. I can haz karma plz? Kthxbye.

I took it and threw in on the ground!

Took the survey. I've accidentally submitted unfinished one, before answering to all the questions I wanted to answer. Please ignore that submission.

[-][anonymous]9y 35

I took the survey, and I answered the first extra credit question, but not the others. When I realized it would take THAT long (I hadn't yet scrolled down to reveal each Extra Credit Question was going to be as long as the first), I thought it would take too much time.

Thanks for doing this once again Yvain.

Edit: survey taken.

All done. Can I has points please?

[-][anonymous]9y 35

Did it.

The political question was dumb. why can't I pick "FAI" or "rational consequentialist".

I really liked the CFAR questions. MORE OF THOSE.

The political compass questions were very ADBOC and generally meaningless. Apparently I'm left libertarian, whatever that means.

The Big 5 test was suspect on some things. Am I really lowest quartile conscientiousness and agreeableness? I defy the data.

The iq test was fun and challenging. Got 133, which is also what I've gotten on previous iq tests.

The autism test was utterly without interpretation. What does 18 mean?

EDIT: sorry I'm being so negative, a good survey overall. Maybe this is where the low agreeableness comes from.

8Nornagest9yThe Political Compass isn't that great for handling nuanced opinions. It mostly seems to test agreement with partisan slogans, some of them quite far out of date, and the wording subtly favors the libertarian interpretation in a lot of cases; as such it's a decent metric of ideological affiliation, especially if you're somewhere on the libertarian spectrum, but it gets a lot noisier as soon as you start forming your own opinions. The tendency to use absolute phrasing ("must", "every", etc.) is especially problematic for a consequentialist. If this is normed like the last autism-spectrum test I saw, the cutoff point for autistic tendencies (bearing in mind the usual caveats about Internet self-testing) is somewhere in the low to mid-20s. Lower means you're more likely to be considered neurotypical along that spectrum, higher means an autism (or, historically, AS) diagnosis is more likely.
3tetsuo559yHow to read the autism score was explained on the test page itself. quote: "Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues at Cambridge's Autism Research Centre have created the Autism-Spectrum Quotient, or AQ, as a measure of the extent of autistic traits in adults. In the first major trial using the test, the average score in the control group was 16.4. Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher. The test is not a means for making a diagnosis, however, and many who score above 32 and even meet the diagnostic criteria for mild autism or Asperger's report no difficulty functioning in their everyday lives." So a score above 32 means you are highly likely of being autistic.
8beoShaffer9yI noticed that my conscientiousness and agreeableness score were significantly lower than the last time I took the big five test (slightly before I really got into LW). I don't have solid evidence, and it does seem a bit convenient, but what I think is happening (please take a second to recall your subjective experience of taking the test before reading further). Despite what the test says, most of the questions do have "right" (or at least socially desirable) answers and LWers are better than the population used to norm the test at avoiding self-serving biases in their answers. Do you remember conscious thinking of biases while taking the test and/or have you developed habits meant to make you less prone to having self severing biases to begin with?
8[anonymous]9yI noticed self-serving a bit on the first few questions and adjusted. I definitely remember thinking of biases.
9beoShaffer9yMost tests (I think including this one) are normed on people who (mostly) don't do that. Thus I'd expect it to under rate your positive qualities.
1[anonymous]9yGotta keep that in mind next time... (Relevant comment [http://lesswrong.com/lw/b5r/not_all_signallingstatus_behaviors_are_bad/652d])
3Nornagest9yI wasn't consciously keeping biases in mind and I don't think I've consciously developed habits to ameliorate them, although I've probably gotten better at recognizing and avoiding them anyway. I scored higher on Agreeableness and Conscientiousness than the last time I took a Big 5 test, by almost a quartile each. If I had to guess, I'd probably ascribe this to improving my social life over the last year or so, although my participation in LW would be hard to disentangle from that.
1gwern9yhttp://lesswrong.com/lw/7s4/poll_results_lw_probably_doesnt_cause_akrasia/ [http://lesswrong.com/lw/7s4/poll_results_lw_probably_doesnt_cause_akrasia/] is relevant.
3Kindly9yWe'll find out what it means when we have an average of all the other LW results.
1RichardKennaway9yIt says at the top: but that isn't enough information to calculate P(autism|score=N). There's more information about the test here [http://web.sls.hw.ac.uk/teaching/level1/A31RH3/baron%20cohen%20AQ.pdf].
1[anonymous]9yThey address some of those issues in their FAQs [http://www.politicalcompass.org/faq].
0johnlawrenceaspden9yI think the test is noisy on agreeableness. Six months ago I got 76%, and a couple of days ago I got 17%. The same person answering the same questions with the same friend being used as a comparison. The other four (Open 95% Conscientious 41% Extravert 91% and Neurotic 4%) were as stable as you'd expect, and reflect my self image. I have no idea whether I'm actually agreeable or not. I certainly can be, and I can also be spectacularly nasty. And I guess what you think of me would probably depend on which face I've mostly chosen to show around you. (it usually is a conscious choice). I wonder if the test score is being influenced by which memories are most salient when I take the test.

Longtime lurker that finally signed up in July. All questions except for the last ones with the tests. (did the IQ test though)

Took the survey.

[-][anonymous]9y 35

Taken. Comments:

In the “More Children” question, I interpreted “planning” very broadly -- I definitely want to have children some day, but not in the next few years. And I'm assuming that finding a girlfriend (which I'm kinda working on) counts as the first step in the “plan”. ;-)

In the “Work Status” question, I interpreted “currently” broadly -- I graduated last month, and know I've been accepted for a PhD even though I'm not officially starting until later this month, so I didn't pick “Unemployed” even though I technically am right now, because that would only mean that you opened the survey in the wrong month.

As usually, in the “Political” question I'm nearly totally disregarding the labels and mostly disregarding the examples, focusing on the descriptions instead.

In the “Religious Views” question, what do apatheism and ignosticism (essentially fancy words for ‘don't care’ and ‘don't understand’ respectively) count as? I'm assuming as “Agnostic” (essentially a fancy word for ‘don't know’).

In “Moral Views”, I'm counting rule consequentialism as a form of consequentialism, rather than as a form of deontology.

iqtest.dk does count as a “respectable test”, right?

“you may do so using... (read more)

In the “More Children” question, I interpreted “planning” very broadly -- I definitely want to have children some day, but not in the next few years. And I'm assuming that finding a girlfriend (which I'm kinda working on) counts as the first step in the “plan”. ;-)

Dear Diary, Today I found a girlfriend. I will now commence Phase 2 of my master plan to reproduce.

2RobinZ9yIf it doesn't, then my answer to the question is off by my answer to the question.
3[anonymous]9y(Actually I was just too lazy to wade through my user page to find out how many times I did that last month.)
3TheOtherDave9yMine too.

Took it, now give me karma.

Took the survey and actually liked it :)

I took the survey, and I am posting for the first time. Thank you for such an intriguing community, everyone.

For the hospital question, although I felt very good about the answer from my own mathematics background, I decided to create a Perl script to check one trial, then ran the script in an environment a great many times to produce a distribution. Here is the single trial script. (You will spoil the answer by executing this script, obviously.)

Took all of them.

Minor points on survey phrasing...

P(Global catastrophic risk) should be P(Not Global catastrophic risk)

You say in part 7 that research is allowed, but don't say that research is disallowed in part 8, calibration year.

In the true prisoner's dilemma article, it doesn't appear to give any information about the cognitive algorithms the opponent is running. For this reason I answered noncommittally, and I'm not sure how useful the question is for distinguishing people with CDTish versus TDTish intuitions.

Similarly in torture versus dust specks I answered not sure, not so much due to moral uncertainty but because the problem is underspecified. What's the baseline? Is everybody's life perfect except for the torture or dust specks specified, or is the distribution more like today's world with a broad range of experiences ranging from basically OK to torture?

I might have given an inflated answer for "Hours on the Internet", as I'm on the computer and the computer is on the Internet but it doesn't necessarily mean I'm actively using the Internet at all times.

2[anonymous]9ySo did I. Also, in that particular scenario, I'd rather call for a referendum than decide for humanity by myself. I've thought about replacing saving 0/1/2/3 billion lives with receiving 3/2/1/0 kicks in the groin, but that would trigger near-mode thinking in me. Being given 0/500/1000/1500 dollars? Then I would definitely cooperate if I was convinced my opponent's cognitive algorithms aren't too different from mine.
1Larks9yI assumed it wouldn't be a True prisoners dillemma if the payoff matrix is actually just (C,C) and (D,D), and therefor that my opponent was running some arbitrary not UDT theory.
3Giles9yI interpreted the word "True" simply to mean that the utility payoffs in the table are correct, and presented in such a way as to prevent people's empathy instinct from causing one player's utility to leak across to the other player.

I now have the whole set of Myers-Briggs letters. Something tells me this test is noisy.

You might want to look at North Americans and others separately for the redwood questions, to see if domain knowledge affects anchoring.

9RobinZ9yPerhaps a domain-knowledge question could be included in a future iteration of the survey. "North America" is a pretty big place, after all, and a Marylander is unlikely to know as much about redwoods as a Californian. Perhaps a set of options might be along the lines of: * I knew the answer to the question. * I knew the answer to one or more related questions, on which I based my estimate. * I once knew the answer to this or a related question. * I had no prior relevant knowledge. * Other (because you always forget an option when making a list like this.)
9MixedNuts9yI'm thinking of less knowledge than that; having seen redwoods at all (even on TV) and knowing they can get really big is knowledge, relative to "It's a kind of tree, right?".
3RobinZ9yOoh, right. That could be captured by "one or more related questions", but it wouldn't be obvious to me that it was, were I answering the question. I certainly didn't know that Mount Elbrus was the highest in Europe three days ago - I imagine that would be analogous.
3[anonymous]9yWell, that's because certain people define the borders of Europe so that Mount Elbrus is in Asia, and Mont Blanc is the highest in Europe.

Took the survey.

Have been lurking for a few years now; did the survey and most of the extra questions.

I took the survey and answered everything through the political compass.

Done it all!

With all those personality tests and surveys it took me a bit more than an hour, but it was quite interesting (particularly CFAR questions) so I won't complain, much. :)

Do casual sex partners count under the "Number of Current Partners" question?

The instructions tell me that higher numbers are for "polyamorous relationships" which makes it seem like a monogamous person who has multiple casual sex partners should answer 0 for that question.

7Zubon9yThat is about the excluded middle I was thinking of on those questions. Reference Dan Savage's term "monogamish." This community seems more likely than average to have unusual degrees of relationships. I was also wondering about "preferred" relationship style. I know several who would prefer polyamory in theory but in practice have never had it work out well in practice. Granted, I know several who have never had monogamy work out well in practice and more who have discovered that they were not in fact in strictly monogamous relationships.
5Scott Alexander9yGood question. I'm going with "no".
-1adamisom9yI like you
2adamisom9yBecause you have something I aspire to (multiple casual sex partners), why else?
6jpulgarin9yLargely a result of Salsa dancing.

Took the whole thing, waiting till I get a good night's sleep to do the IQ test and hit submit.

For those who couldn't select or copy the links like me, here they are to click on:

6drnickbone9yThanks very much for these links... I didn't complete the surveys on first read through, owing to failure of equipment (iPad) to follow the links, and lack of time. But encouraged by others here who persevered and completed the whole lot, I have followed up on them since. Not sure if I can amend the census now, but reporting here as I was mildly surprised by some of the results. Political Compass = Left Libertarian. Somewhere near Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Dalai Lama apparently, with almost all Western politicians to the authoritarian right of me. Probably explains why I can't stand any of them! Big Five Personality Test = High O, High C, Moderate E, Moderately-Low A, High N. IQ Test = 133, after finally getting the Flash to work (didn't work on iPad, and skipped/auto-inserted wrong answer for every other question on Android phone). Not sure about this one; the result was some way lower than my last measurement, though that was in childhood. Checking some of the related links, the top score appears to be "above 145" even if you get every question right, which seems strange (some of the end questions looked really impossible). Meyers Briggs = INTJ (all moderate). More or less what I expected; last did this twenty years ago and came out INTP. Autism Test = 17, very near mean of control group.
1[anonymous]9yWho the hell downvoted that? Upvoted back to 0.

Took the survey.

I took it, and answered many of the "extra credit" questions (though not all of them).

Taken it. Suggestion [if it's possible to change] - we should add the option to unanswer an answered question. Right now you can change your answer from A to B, but not from A to non-A and non-B.

0[anonymous]9yI think that, with some browsers at least, there's no way to do that (short of reloading the page and re-answering the questions). The ‘right’ thing to do would be to add a “None of the above / Prefer not to answer” option to all questions.

Just took my second survey. Been lurking a while now, this is my first comment.

Done... I've been away from LW for a few months due to Other Life Stuff... but happy to fill in another survey.

Lurker for the past couple years, posting for the first time. I took it, including a good chunk of the extra credit questions.

I just found this site, but this was an interesting survey and between that and the intelligence of conversation about it in the comments convinced me to sign up and read more on here.

Also, I did most of the questions, but I'm on an iPad and the iq test didn't load for me, so I'll do it on a computer later.

Hi JDM, welcome to less wrong. You might want to take a look at the welcome thread.

I am continually amused by how much nuance the contrarians of LW want in these questions. Even I thought the simulation question was ill-posed & wanted a "mu" answer.

Politics is always nearly hopeless, short of asking people to write a 14-page essay on their particular chimera of left-libertarian whig marxism, or whatever.

5Sarokrae9yUpvoted for "left-libertarian whig marxism"
3RichardKennaway9yThat's Ken MacLeod, isn't it?
4simplicio9yDon't tell me that that ideology, which I invented specifically to sound ridiculous, is actually HELD by somebody!
3RichardKennaway9yThe phrase he uses himself is "libertarian Trotskyist", but I don't think I can insert so much as a cigarette paper between that and "left-libertarian whig marxism". But no doubt the real left-libertarian whig marxists would castigate him as a splitter. He's a writer of hard SF; this [http://kenmacleod.blogspot.co.uk/] is his blog.
0MugaSofer9yDo those words actually have meanings?
9RichardKennaway9yCertainly they do. A Marxist is someone who identifies with the doctrines expounded by Marx, a Trotskyist the same regarding Trotsky (let them fight among themselves over exactly what those doctrines are), a Whig (nowadays) is someone who interprets history as the march of progress towards the present enlightened dispensation, a libertarian is one who regards personal liberty as a fundamental value and government as no more than a very doubtful means of its protection, and "left" means generally favouring collective organisation and distribution of production over personal creativity, initiative, and capture of the value one creates. Whether they still mean anything when jammed together by a random political affiliation generator is another matter. Personally, I'm not sure why Ken MacLeod's head hasn't exploded yet.
0MugaSofer9yAh, OK. I knew Marxism, but I was under the impression that "Whig" was a political party of some kind and "left-libertarian" just sounded meaningless. Is that regarding libertarians? 'Cause in the general population it just seems to mean "liberal".
2[anonymous]9yBTW, left-libertarian is a retronym -- libertarian capitalists started to label themselves as libertarian about a century later than libertarian socialists did.
2Larks9yOnly in the American interpretation of the word "liberal", which is at odds to how it is used both in most of the world (British Commonwealth, Europe, etc.) and historically.
0MugaSofer9yI'm ... not American.
2MixedNuts9yEurope!"liberal" means "strongly for economic freedom, weakly for social regulation", so pretty much right-wing. US!"liberal" means "for economic regulation, strongly for social freedom", so totally left-wing.
0MugaSofer9yNot ... particularly. We're all over the map on the economy in my experience. I don't even know what you mean by "social regulation"; are we talking abortion?Freedom of speech? What?
-1Eugine_Nier9yAbortion, drug use, various alternative lifestyles.
0MugaSofer9yWell, I'm not sure about drug use, but liberals here are generally OK with abortion and most alternative lifestyles.
0Peterdjones9y"The version of left-libertarianism defended by contemporary theorists like Vallentyne, Steiner, Otsuka, van Parijs, and Ellerman features a strong commitment to personal liberty—embracing the libertarian premise that each person possesses a natural right of self-ownership—and an egalitarian view of natural resources, holding that it is illegitimate for anyone to claim private ownership of resources to the detriment of others.[17] On this view, unappropriated natural resources are either unowned or owned in common, believing that private appropriation is only legitimate if everyone can appropriate an equal amount, or if private appropriation is taxed to compensate those who are excluded from natural resources. This position is articulated in self-conscious contrast to the position of other libertarians who argue for a (characteristically labor-based) right to appropriate unequal parts of the external world, such as land.[18"
0MugaSofer9yI said it sounded meaningless, and from context I had assumed it was deliberately so. That's why I was surprised to learn that it was an actual political philosophy. Read the grandparent.
-4Eugine_Nier9yI don't see how they propose the complex organization necessary for ensuring resources are only appropriated appropriately without severely compromising personal rights and liberties.
4fubarobfusco9yOne way would be to drive notions of proper appropriation (under whatever scheme) into cultural background as folk knowledge, so the "complex organization" is diffused among individuals rather than being externalized as a state apparatus. In other words, someone making an illegitimate property claim under this regime would not be suppressed by force, but instead mocked and not taken seriously, in the manner of someone who today claims to own the air you're breathing or the idea of birthdays. Only if they resort to force against others would there be a problem.
0[anonymous]9yYes. Putting signs reading "private property - do not trespass" is pointless if there are no cops to deter people from trespassing anyway. (You can deter people yourself with a gun, but that'd mean you actually are on your land, which libertarian socialists would call "possession", not "property".)
0Eugine_Nier9yHow does that work for things that require violence to enforce?
5ChristianKl9yThe core idea is to avoid enforcing stuff. Self interest individuals who care about their own status won't violate norms because they don't want to lose their status. Burning Man works pretty well without any rules being enforced through violence.
2fubarobfusco9yIn that question, "requires violence to enforce" is being used as a one-place function. Is it really one?
-1MugaSofer9yIt doesn't, obviously. The idea is that those are rare.
0MugaSofer9yWith the magic of economics.
-2Eugine_Nier9yThat only works if your appropriate distribution is the one the market creates, I suspect this isn't the case for left-libertarians.
0MugaSofer9yPresumably they think it would work.
0Peterdjones9yThen I gues they just have to use redistributive taxation to iron out the consequences of a necesarily inappropriate distribution of resources.
-2RichardKennaway9yI see there's actually a Wikipedia article on "left-libertarianism" [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-libertarianism] and another on "libertarian socialism" [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism]. On skimming them, "libertarian" in that context appears to mean having everything controlled by a democratic government to which everyone voluntarily submits. Democratic totalitarianism, in other words. "Liberty" is the freedom to do anything permitted by the other words that "libertarian" is yoked to.
4MugaSofer9y?! I gotta see this! Oh, wait, nevermind: I think you may have misunderstood the way "socialist" was being used there.
0RichardKennaway9yThey talk about the elimination of the state, and in the same breath (or at least the same Wiki article) of collective ownership of the means of production. The idea seems to be that it isn't a "state" when it's Us, only when it's Them. Since it's Us, and therefore good and right, everyone will voluntarily agree to it. Anyone who does not is Bad, and therefore not one of Us, but one of Them. Liberty is liberty to do anything that is right, that is, to agree with Us. You can have anything you like, and do anything you like, as long as it's what We think you ought to have and do. We are truly democratic, since everyone voluntarily supports Us, but They are undemocratic, even if They have elected government, because if They had truly democratic government They would be organised like Us. But this is politics [http://lesswrong.com/lw/gw/politics_is_the_mindkiller/].
6MugaSofer9yYou haven't talked to many socialists, have you? But as you say, we're dealing with a mindkiller here.
-4Eugine_Nier9yI suspect this is similar to the question for certain right-anarchists of why can't one think of the state as defense agency, that decided to expand into other services. I suspect the actual content of these philosophies is ideas about the optimal way to run a government/defense agency/collective ownership council.

I took it, but I skipped the IQ question, because the last time I took an IQ test I was, like, 12 years old.

Is there some reputable online IQ test that I can take today ?

[-][anonymous]9y 17

see the unreasonably long bonus questions section. http://iqtest.dk

On my chrome 22 in Ubuntu, the 'links' were neither links nor selectable (whenever I selected one, it would immediately unselect it), which made accessing any of those questions rather annoying. I ended up opening the survey in FireFox to get the links.

4faul_sname9yKeeping it selected and ctrl-c/cmd-c ing it works.
2bsterrett9yTo clarify: this involves selecting the hyperlink text with your mouse, but not releasing your mouse button, and then copying the text while it is still selected. "Keeping it selected" is the default behavior of the browser which does not seem to be working.
4simplicio9yI had this problem too but discovered that if I clicked on the link, then started typing the URL, Chrome knew where I was going.

I accidentally hit the enter key before I was done and my answers were submitted. I'm dumb.

8MBlume9yYou get 14 points anyway! ^_^

In accordance with ancient tradition, I took the survey.

Took the survey. It was quite interesting! I'll be curious to see what the results look like . . . .

Took the survey on my iPhone so could only fill out half the answers. Politics questions were hilarious. Official delurk.

I took the survey, and the extra credit, and the pretext to delurk.

I took the survey and answered every question. Like many others here, I found that the iqtest.dk result was distinctly lower than any other estimate of my IQ I've had. I was miles out on the calibration date question. There was one probability question -- I forget which -- for which it was extremely not-obvious whether you were supposed to enter a percentage or a probability.

I took the survey :) thanks for running it again!

6fortyeridania9yYes, thanks.

I took all of it!

Whew, that was long! (Not that I wasn't warned.)

Incidentally, communism as invented has little in common with communism as practiced in the Soviet Union. Whether the former is possible (for humans) is debatable.

2MugaSofer9yI wish I could upvote this twice - once for insight and once for tradition.

Took the survey.

Did anyone else find the IQ questions to be either boringly easy or impossibly hard? I don't think I answered anything that required more than 15s of thought.

6bsterrett9yI found that leaving a question and coming back to it was much more helpful than trying to focus on it. There were several questions that I made no progress on for a few minutes, but I could immediately solve them upon returning to them.
4[anonymous]9yThere were a couple I answered after several minutes of thought.
0johnlawrenceaspden9yYes, apart from a couple of intermediate cases. In hindsight, the easy questions were where I already knew, or worked out, the construction technique for the question, the impossible ones were where I didn't spot what was going on, and the intermediates were where I knew the technique but the application was complicated and took a while to deduce.

Obligatory "took the survey" post.

[-][anonymous]9y 31

Took it.

If you're using Chrome, the Big 5 site is much more tolerable if you open console and run this line of javascript:

for(i in document.all) document.all[i].style['background-color'] = '#fff';

That sets the background color to white for everything instead of their hideous color scheme.


Only cost me an hour of my time!

(Minus, of course, the two additional hours spent staring at a corner, crying and lamenting my various emotional insecurities brought up by the IQ and personality tests)

-1Curiouskid9yI hope your being sarcastic. It only took me 20 minutes. :)
3RobinZ9yThe IQ test alone was designed to take 40 minutes - if you did it in under 20 you probably got a lower score than you should have. (I'm rather sure I took over an hour, doing all extra credit questions.)
4Curiouskid9yI was being sarcastic by saying that I did the IQ test in a ridiculously low amount of time and therefore had a very high IQ and that he should feel worse about his IQ test.

Odd, I thought you meant you only spent 20 minutes crying....

I love how well sarcasm works on the internet!

Been there, done that survey...

I'm curious about the results.

I took the survey

Survey: Completed, no problems. Dithered quite a bit when asked what my position was on the true Prisoners dilemma. And I keep consistently overshooting the estimation dates by 100 years (almost precisely, on the previous survey I overshot by 105 years, this time overshot by 120ish). I've started getting more involved in the community over the past 3 months.

5Baruta079yJust took the IQ test for fun, wasn't even trying hard for half of it, still got a 102
3shminux9yHow does it feel to be almost exactly average?
2Baruta079yQuite okay actually, not sure who decided that the entire IQ test be made up of progressive reasoning tests, at least ask some other problem solving questions
-1anon8959yDon't worry; I'm sure there are plenty of ways you can still contribute. Edit: Well, I thought it was funny.
-1MugaSofer9yWhy is this being downvoted?
1anon8959yI imagine because it was an implied insult and the intended friendly tone didn't come through or wasn't considered appropriate. Seems to be back to neutral, though.


It looks like I wasn't the only one who had difficulty selecting the links, and so had to type them in manually.

Yvain or a mod- Can we get all the links from the survey pasted into the body of the OP so that those of us who couldn't select them have an easier access mode than manual copying?

9fortyeridania9yI couldn't select the links either.
4Divide9yIf you use X11 you'll find that even though the selection clears just after releasing the mouse button, it's been nonetheless placed in the selection buffer (so you can middle-button it somewhere).
4Raoul5899yEven if I could have selected the links I wouldn't have tried it, because you just know that clicking on something like that will open a new page and delete all of your entered data.
1tetsuo559yi was unable to click or copy them

Took most of it. I pressed enter accidentally after the charity questions. I would like to fill out the remainder. Is there a way I can do that without messing up the data?

Took the IQ test. Humbling. Score 110.

IQ test in high school, 156. SAT 793/800 verbal, 783/800 math. Cal Tech. Yatta yatta. But that was many years ago. It's pretty obvious what happened. Timed test. I only finished, in the time, about 2/3 - 3/4 of the questions, maybe a bit more, I didn't keep count. (I skipped questions that weren't popping up right away, thinking I'd come back. Didn't have time.)

I'm 68 years old. I used to be able to hold a conversation on the phone and read a book at the same time, about something completely different. That disappeared when I was in my late 40s. The test requires, for the more difficult problems, testing many different hypotheses, if a clear pattern doesn't pop up immediately. It's almost certain that this takes more time for me now than when I was younger.

This almost certainly impacts my communication skills, for starters.

2Friendly-HI9yI would be careful with the interpretation of your results. It is very uncommon to loose 46 points even over a whole lifetime, given the assumption that nothing bad happened to your brain. Intelligence is one of, if not even the most stable personality trait known to psychology. That is why losing more than two standard deviations without any apparent reason apart from ageing should be treated as a less likely explanation than either of the following ones: You were compared to the wrong age group. An IQ of 100 is defined as the mean score for your age group. So if you were compared to people in their 20-30's that would easily explain the unfavorable result. Your test score needs to be compared to 68 year olds (or perhaps 65 to 70 year old people). It's quite safe to say however, that you got slower compared to your younger self and other young people for that matter. Here is another explanation that may fit very nicely to your score pattern. http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/PDF_files/a35.pdf [http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/PDF_files/a35.pdf] Excerpt: But a rather curious situation occurs when we examine the scores of gifted students on these various sets of norms. In 1960, a five-year-old achieving a mental age of 8.0 would have had an IQ score of 165. In 1972, that same raw score only yielded an IQ of 153, a difference of 12 points. Differences between the Stanford-Binet Revision IV, published in 1986, and the 1972 norms appear to be at least 13.5 points in the moderately gifted range (Thorndike, Hagen & Sattler, 1986), which would bring the same child's score down below 140. This is a loss of one IQ point per year from 1960 to 1986 for children in the gifted range. In this 26 year period, average students needed to obtain only 8 more points to make up for the average gains in intelligence of the general population, whereas gifted children needed to obtain over 25 more points to match previous scores * 1 1/2 standard deviations of IQ. This seems like an u
5Abd9yWell, what I wrote was banter. There are many kinds of intelligence. The test measures a particular kind, one that could probably be simulated (AI) with relative ease (I'm not saying it's easy, but that what is involved is a series of tests, trials, of possible transforms, and then a checking of transforms that work for simplicity. It's looking for an aha! pattern. I know that I'm not as good at this now as I was when younger. A related example: I'm looking for my black waist pack, in my office, a room full of stuff. I walk through and don't see it. We are in a hurry to leave, so I ask my 9-year-old daughter to check. She sees it immediately. It's in plain sight. I have "tunnel vision." Not literally. I still have peripheral vision. But I don't interpret the full field, as I used to, only a narrower field, more central. I have to actually look at the bag to recognize it. I trust the test as a reasonable one, that would measure a certain kind of intelligence that is highly useful. Damn! I'm used to thinking of myself as really smart, for almost sixty years. Time to move on. Yes, I'm still smart in some ways, but I already knew that there are many ways in which I'm not, maybe never was. What I've been told by doctors is that the cognitive impairments I've noticed are normal. People learn to compensate for them.
1Friendly-HI9yAs age progresses, we also see a natural shift of intelligence from "fluid" to "crystallized" intelligence. The first kind is fast, adaptable and more creative, good for problem-solving, learning new things and pattern-recognition. The second kind is concerned with facts and knowledge, but also implicit knowledge/skills like how to drive a car. IQ tests really measure fluid intelligence, less so the crystallized kind. Some IQ tests have a few questions that probe your crystallized intelligence as well, like "What was the name of the ship Charles Darwin sailed on to the Galapagos islands?" (often with 4 answers to choose from). But usually you get very few questions like those, if any at all. Those two "kinds" of intelligence aren't completely independent though, as one would expect your fluid intelligence has a high impact on your crystallized knowledge. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystallized_intelligence [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystallized_intelligence]
0Abd9yInteresting, Friendly-HI. I was pointing to something distinct from both. In the Wikipedia article, "crystallized intelligence" is not about "knowledge," per se, but is something integrated. What has shifted for me is "fast," when it comes to a series of new analyses of my sensory input. I'm not that kind of fast any more. However, "depth" appears to have increased. To me, it's important that I distinguish my accumulated experience from "truth." It's just my accumulated experience, my past. The present and future remain open, as long as I'm alive.
0Vaniver9yHere's [http://www.sais.se/mthprize/2011/cirillo_strom.pdf] a 2010 Master's Thesis that does pretty well on it. I remember someone came up with a better algorithm in the last year, but I'm not finding it quickly.
4johnlawrenceaspden9yFriendly-HI, are you trying to explain Abd's low score using the Flynn effect? Claiming that a modern IQ of 110 is equivalent to an IQ of 156 in the 1950s seems a bit like claiming that a modern skilled labourer is as clever as the people at Cal Tech in the 1950s. I suppose that's possible, but I would be somewhat surprised. I mean, I haven't noticed many people complaining that chess is too easy. I'd imagine that it's some combination of age-related decline and a badly calibrated test which has a large random-number generator component. (And a tiny bit of the Flynn effect) Remember that this is the same scheme that puts a Richard Feynman in every 20 people while Marylin Vos Savant is an impossible genius who should not have occurred in the lifetime of the species.
4Friendly-HI9yIdeally your achieved IQ score is really a measure of your position within a normal distribution of IQ scores of your age group, where the mean (or peak) is standardized as 100 and one standard deviation equals 15 points. So an IQ of 130 is two Standard deviations above the mean and only ~ 2% of the people in your age group would be considered smarter than you. I'm not sure age related decline factors into the decline of his IQ scores at all. That Hypothesis would only be true if the IQ-test he took was actually quite accurate and well-constructed, which would literally mean that in ~1955 only 0.05% of children in his age group were more intelligent than him and now something like 20% of ~65 year olds are more intelligent than him. Considering the stability of IQ it just doesn't seem very plausible, that age-related decline would have hit him much harder than the average old person. The article I quoted offered an explanation that I find much more plausible. It's primary point wasn't that this is the doing of the Flynn-effect, but the following: "When too many children are found in the upper ranges, the scores are adjusted to fit the theoretical curve.This swells the number of scores in the 120-130 range and depresses the IQ scores of the entire gifted population. The attempt to artificially force the distribution of giftedness into the normal curve results in the disappearance of 1 1/2 standard deviations of intelligence. With today's measuring devices, all IQ scores in the gifted range are most likely underestimates of ability."
2DaFranker9yWhoa. I knew there was some weird stuff happening with high-IQ scores, but never realized it was this much. Then again, most institutions I've seen that administer IQ tests seem to treat the formulas and scoring systems as corporate secrets or something. I should not be this surprised at the extent of the weirdness.
0Vaniver9yYou mean, nothing bad besides aging? If comparing Abd2012 to the correct age group would easily explain the numerical difference with regards to Abd1962's score, then that's solid evidence that this is regular age-related deterioration (of ability to solve Raven's Progressive Matrices).
2DaFranker9yGiven the same difficulty and grading of tests, then yes. However, there's also the possibility that you have the same raw score on a test of the same level of difficulty, but achieve lower "IQ" once weighted and graded because of curious maths and changes in the base distribution model they use for grading. I might be confusing what your point was though, on second thought. Am I?
0Vaniver9ySo, it's possible that a raw score one year will mean a different thing another year. For the SAT and GRE, getting one question wrong on the math section will drop you tens of points- but how many varies from year to year. (Other scores are more stable; that one is corrupted by edge effects of the tremendous number of people who get all the quantitative questions correct.) The point I was making is that, when IQ is calculated by age group, that's evidence that there are raw score differentials between age groups. This paper [http://www.iapsych.com/wj3ewok/LinkedDocuments/McArdle2002.pdf] shows a theoretical graph of what that would like in Figure 1. Also related is Figure 3, but it has a crazy axis and so I'm hesitant to apply it. (I'm having trouble finding actual raw score data out there.) If age-related decline and death are unrelated to intelligence, then even though raw scores will decline with age, individual IQ will stay the same in expectation (beyond unavoidable random drift) because each person is compared to people whose scores have declined about as much as theirs. When IQ is used as a measure of "where are you relative to your peers?", you want this. When IQ is used as a measure of absolute intelligence, you don't want this. This email [http://www.sl4.org/archive/0511/12800.html] by Eliezer comes to mind.
0Friendly-HI9y"The point I was making is that, when IQ is calculated by age group, that's evidence that there are raw score differentials between age groups." Exactly, that is the point. Of course there is a certain age-related deterioration of intelligence, especially fluid intelligence. So even if he did the exact same test he already did decades ago, his raw score will surely be lower now than it was back then. Confusingly enough, he could still be said to be as "intelligent" as he was back then if his relative position within the IQ distribution hadn't changed. (Which if we were to believe his recent IQ-test, actually happened). If any of this is confusing it's because IQ is a relative measurement. So if I were to say that he is as intelligent as he was decades ago in the context of an IQ test, that doesn't mean that he would solve the same proportion of tasks correctly, or that there wasn't any cognitive decline due to aging, but only that his relative position within the normal distribution of IQ scores hasn't changed. IQ tests never measure absolute intelligence. Since IQ means intelligence -quotient-, you always compare a score to other scores, so it's not an absolute measure by definition - there is no absolute IQ test. I'm also not aware of any respectable existing test for absolute intelligence either, nor how exactly one might even look like, although I'm sure you could in principle construct one if you define the word intelligence in nonconfused terms that reflect actual reality, which seems like a monumental task. If we picture the concept of absolute intelligence as some kind of optimal information process with certain well defined characteristics whose lower and upper bounds are only determined by the laws of physics, I'm afraid human intelligence will be hardly comparable to it in any really meaningful way. And more importantly, how could you even begin to make a reliable and valid measure of something like that in humans?
2Vaniver9yRight. Unfortunately, whenever someone wants to talk about absolute intelligence, "IQ" is the closest word/concept to that. When you look at adult IQ tests, the raw score is decent measure of 'absolute intelligence' for most modern humans. Current tests have known problems with exceptional individuals (on either end) and some tests are more interested in determining the shape of someone's intelligence (like, say, the subtests on the Woodcock Johnson) than others (like the Raven's test, which only tests one thing). Comparing raw scores tells you useful things- about the effects of age, about the Flynn effect, about theoretical populations [http://lesswrong.com/lw/qk/that_alien_message/], and even about the distribution now. IQ scores are defined to follow a bell curve, but if the raw scores don't follow a bell curve, that's important to know! The concept of IQ as a quotient seems rooted in the history of testing children- "this 12 year old has a 16 year old's development"- which isn't very useful for adults. If we give a test for adults to Alice and Betty, and Alice has an IQ of 140 and Betty has an IQ of 100, that doesn't mean Alice is 40% smarter than Betty; it means that Betty is 50th percentile and Alice is 99.6th percentile. But, in practice, we might want to know that it takes Betty 90 seconds to get a problem right 80% of the time, and it takes Alice 5 seconds to get it right 100% of the time, which is data we collected in order to get the official outputs of 140 and 100. The Sentience Quotient [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentience_quotient] is the closest thing I can think of, and it's mostly good for describing why humans and trees have few productive conversations (though the upper bound is also interesting).
0Abd9yThere is little doubt in my mind that there is an age-related shift. Calling it "bad" would be shallow. There is a trade-off. I don't see it as a difference in "ability to solve," but rather as a difference in the speed with which untrained heuristics can be used. That could be related to the effect I've long noticed, a marked decline in an ability to multiprocess, to handle multiple independent threads or processes. If solving the matrix involves testing a large number of possibilities, the more that can be tested at once, the faster the process will be. It's as if I've moved toward being a Turing machine, from being massively parallel. I would not consciously perceive the "separate processes," necessarily. Rather, the result of them would pop up in my consciousness as "ideas." I'd just "see" the solution. The decline might be the result of increased capacity being devoted to depth rather than breadth. If so, it's not a "bad" happening, but a relative disability related to an improvement in a different ability. It points to certain issues in life extension, however. The brain might naturally reach a kind of saturation. Life extension without intelligence enhancement in some way, i.e., the development of cyborg technology, might not be all so valuable. (We are experiencing this to a degree in that we have rapid access to massive information, but the bandwidth of those connections is generally narrow.) But these are just ideas. I have no specific test of "depth."
0Vaniver9yIt certainly beats the alternative! Hm. When I originally read your description of solving the matrices, it seemed to me like your algorithm was shaped the wrong way- I would look at the matrix, identify the transformation, predict what the right answer would be, and then find it in the options. (I only used serious thought and hypothesis falsification on the last question.) Now I'm less confident that I understand my algorithm for identifying the transformation.
-2Abd9yThat loss of confidence is a clue that you are understanding the process better. How do you "identify the transformation"? That's the whole banana! There is a separate step, finding the answer in the set of answers, which is a partial confirmation. If one is not certain of the entire transformation, but has identified aspects of it, possible elements of the transformation, sometimes the choice can be made by elimination among the answers. But the process you describe is my own default, and that's how I started. At first it was trivial. It got less simple. Then I saw that I was going to run out of time! Then it became a matter of optimizing what I was going to answer, once I got that I was unlikely to complete. Obviously, I could take the test again, but that would defeat the purpose. I did go back to review certain problems, for the discussion here. Yes, to be a more standard intelligence test, the results should be reported by age. I suspect that, unless someone has trained for this kind of test, raw results will peak at a certain age, then decline after that. Or the test could be untimed, in which case I'd expect I could do very well. I might do better than some younger people, just as "smart," who aren't as careful. I would not generally be satisfied with less than total, accurate prediction, with a simple algorithm. (Any answer could be justified with a complicated enough algorithm.) Back to the question of how the transformation is identified. It's an excellent question. It is questions like this that must be answered to develop artificial intelligence. And for general artificial intelligence, they must be answered in the general case. It may be possible to find specific, "trick" algorithms that work for specific problems. But humans can solve these problems "out of the box," so to speak, without almost no instruction. How do we do that? Rather obviously, we are designed to detect patterns of behavior, which we use for prediction.
0johnlawrenceaspden9yI wouldn't be humbled just yet, especially if you found some of the problems impossible rather than complicated but doable. A lot of people seem to have got unexpectedly low scores on this test. (And no-one's said 'Wow I usually do really badly on IQ tests but that one gave me a great score') Go and read http://www.jperla.com/blog/post/how-to-ace-an-iq-test [http://www.jperla.com/blog/post/how-to-ace-an-iq-test] (don't look at the answers, just the methods) and then go back and redo the test. I imagine you'll then get a much higher score. Then go and work out exactly what and why the answers on that test are as they are. (Perla has missed some of the explanations, but it's very satisfying to work out what the answers actually are. They're all perfectly logical and obvious-in-retrospect). After that you should be reasonably confident that you'll do very well on any similar tests in future. What that tells you about the nature of IQ tests and their calibration is debatable.
4Abd9yThe URL is incorrect, the comma at the end should be removed. Here is the page [http://www.jperla.com/blog/post/how-to-ace-an-iq-test]
0Abd9yWell, when I went back and looked at a couple of problems, I was able to solve them, so far. It was definitely, then, an issue of time. (When I find the solution, I expect, it is completely clear and the missing frame is fully specified, and it's reasonably simple. I.e., "obvious in retrospect," as you wrote.) I do know, independently, that my "multiprocessing" abilities have declined, and that these would be likely be important to any algorithm for solving these problems. I'm sure I could improve my time with practice. Thanks for your kind thoughts and for the link. I'll check it out.

Took the vast majority. The OCEAN test seemed mostly wrong, the IQ seemed low (big shock, right? Shouldn't have raced through, I guess), and my Myers-Briggs was ENFJ, which is just bizarre.

Also, I've commented a few times, never posted.

I took the survey.

One thing I was unsure about: the appropriate answer to the question “Referrals: How did you find out about Less Wrong?”. I answered “Referred by a link on another blog”. But I actually investigated and discovered Less Wrong after seeing a bunch of links to it on Hacker News. Hacker News is really a link aggregation site or social news site, not a blog. But I thought that that answer was better than choosing “Other” and writing in “link from an aggregation site”.

CFAR Question 1: not constructively.

CFAR Question 6: what kind of archaic unit is 'feet'? I was able to answer by remembering that 3 feet ~= 1 meter.

Income: before or after tax? I answered after taxes, which for me is 65% of the income before taxes.

I took the survey, but, like others, I was unable to answer the American-style school questions.

I took the IQ test in the extra questions section. I clicked "submit" long before the time ran out, even when I knew I was essentially guessing on some of the questions, because I had gotten sick of the damn thing. My score came back a 122, which pissed me off because I'm fairly sure my real IQ is higher than that.

Then I realized this may be a good metaphor for my life. In the future, when asked my IQ, I'll respond, "I don't know, but my lack-of-patience-adjusted IQ is about 120."

0Cakoluchiam9yAt first I wondered whether the test adjusts either direction for lack-of-patience; and then I realized I could run an experiment. There don't appear to be any points granted for finishing early; I just took the test three times, guessing randomly as fast as possible, and scored 93 first then <79 (what appears to be the lowest score possible) twice and 93 the third time, and then took the test a fourth time, guessing randomly at a rate of 1 question/minute (finishing with 1 minute to spare), and got 83. This appears to reject the hypothesis that finishing early boosts your score (or, inversely, taking more time lowers your score). Though... V whfg ernyvmrq vg qbrfa'g nccrne gb inel gur cbfvgvba bs gur nafjref ba frcnengr nggrzcgf, fb n zber gubebhtu grfg jbhyq hfr n cerqrgrezvarq frdhrapr bs nafjref gung fbzrgvzrf erfhyg va na VD nobir 79, naq inel gur gvzr gb pbzcyrgr gur grfg hfvat gung frdhrapr. ... but I have to get to bed soon so I'm not going to spend another 40 minutes to run that test.

i typed my age then hit return which submitted the form with only one answer. so then i filled it in again. you'll want to ignore that first entry. dinner arrived as i did that so that was a couple of hours ago now. age is 39 if that helps.

I wonder whether there are visible conversion effects on the redwood question for native metric users? Estimates slightly on the short side and neatly divisible by three because the quick and dirty meter -> feet conversion is multiplying by three?

5Scott Alexander9ySeems easy to test for once the results are out: sort people into metric/non-metric groups by the "country" question and compare results.
4dbaupp9yAnd the anchoring effect of the random number changes.
4FourFire9yMy answer would be affected.
3[anonymous]9yI rounded my guess to the nearest hundred, to cancel that effect.
0[anonymous]9yOh crap, it's 3, not 2. Two is for kilograms -> pounds. Well, there's at least one answer a bit lower than intended. ^^

I took the survey.

Guys, you are seriously need to start using metric system or at least include the necessary number in the meters. Going to Google twice in order to calculate the relevant numbers was... frustrating.

(By the way, I have never donated to any charity before, but I sworn in a grand manner that it will be in the list of the first five things I will do with my PayPal account when I get one)

1WingedViper9yYep, imperial system was quite a frustration and is not really appropriate for such a scientifically minded group.
2TraderJoe9yThe most appropriate metric is the one which causes the smallest number of people to have to calculate their answer into another unit of measurement. If LW is mostly American, that may well be imperial.

Took the survey. Was tired to take the IQ test. Thanks for the opportunity.

Taken, though I had to skip the IQ test because it wasn't screen reader accessible (flash, with some text labels but no accessible controls, not that flash in general is particularly accessible).

0johnlawrenceaspden9yI wouldn't normally defend flash, but the test was all visual, so a screen reader might not have helped.

Survey taken.

Problem: You might want to specify "this year's survey" in the following line, otherwise people may think that having taken a previous year's survey means they do not need to take this year's survey to be counted:

Everyone who took the survey before, your responses are still saved and you don't have to take it again.

I too have taken the survey, it's been some time since I commented.

Took the survey, plus the IQ test out of curiosity, I'd never had my IQ tested before.

Along similar reasoning, do we know how well the iqtest.dk test correlates with non-internet tests of IQ? Getting a number is cool, knowing it was generated by a process fundamentally different than rand(100,160) would be even better

5Cakoluchiam9yI strongly suspect that a lot of the members of LessWrong have had a non-internet IQ test and will have entered their scores on the census. Those who also took the extra credit internet test and entered their scores to that as well could serve as a sample group for us to make just such an analysis. Granted, we are likely a biased sample of the population (I suspect a median of somewhere around 125 for both tests), but data is data.
4jeremysalwen9yFrom what I could read on the iqtest page, it seemed that they didn't do any correction for self-selection bias, but rather calculated scores as if they had a representative sample. Based on this I would guess that the internet IQ test will underestimate your score (p=0.7)
1Cakoluchiam9yUnless there are significant numbers of people, myself for example, who take the test multiple times with varied random algorithms just to see how it affects the outcome. I'd only put a (p=0.55) at the test underestimating your score, conditional that it doesn't correct for self-selection bias. Though, given that the lowest score appears to be "less than 79", rather than an exact number, they may simply drop any scores under 79 from their pool, or at the very least weight them differently. Has anybody identified a similar maximum score which would support this hypothesis of discarding outliers?
1jeremysalwen9yAnalysis of the survey results seems to indicate that I was correct: http://lesswrong.com/lw/fp5/2012_survey_results/ [http://lesswrong.com/lw/fp5/2012_survey_results/]
2Nornagest9yA lot of people in this thread have reported institutionally tested IQ scores much higher than those given by the extra-credit Internet test. (My own score on the former is two and a half standard deviations higher than on the latter, though I took the former many years ago.) I suspect that iqtest.dk's either normed very low (unusually for an Internet IQ test) or is suffering from other problems. The first possibility that comes to mind is that some people are taking it several times (one person elsewhere in the thread reported scores in the 100 range, then 120, then 140 over three trials), and that its scoring system is taking that into account improperly.
1Cakoluchiam9yAs I mention elsewhere [http://lesswrong.com/lw/f9l/2012_less_wrong_censussurvey_now_open/7sb5], ... gur grfg vf vaperqvoyl rnfl gb tnzr. Vg qbrfa'g punatr gur cbfvgvba bs cbgragvny nafjref orgjrra gnxvatf, fb trggvat n cresrpg fpber ba lbhe frpbaq gel vf cerggl rnfl.
3Nornagest9yThat's what I thought. So if jeremysalwen [http://lesswrong.com/lw/f9l/2012_less_wrong_censussurvey_now_open/7sat] is right and they're calculating scores as if their sample of results is representative, then their scoring algorithm is going to be utterly useless (perhaps outside a narrow regime around 100): the right-hand side of the curve is going to be populated entirely by people gaming the test in various ways (retakes are almost certainly common, and more sophisticated methods are likely to represent at least a couple percent of results), and I'd imagine a good chunk of the left-hand side would fall to guessers.
3[anonymous]9yEven without cheating, I don't think the people who voluntarily spend 40 minutes on an IQ test are representative of the whole population.
0[anonymous]9yI assumed that iqtest.dk would count as “respectable” rather than as “amateur” so I included its score in both questions. If you do such a calibration, you should ignore my entry.

I just took the survey, making this my first post that someone will read!

Took the survey. Delurking for the first time. I'm planning on posting to the welcome thread in a few days, when I'm less busy. Did most of the test except the IQ test, since I didn't have another forty minutes to spare.

I appreciate the expansiveness of the sex and gender options. It's nice to see some recognition of the complexities.

I was surprised at my intensely introverted results, other big five tests usually put me between average and moderately introverted. Nothing else noticably unusual, though.

I did everything except the IQ test. I took that test before and retook it until I figured out how to solve all the problems. I could not recall what I got on it the first time. Strangely in the survey I said staying anonymous is important to me and then I created an account with my real name.

[-][anonymous]9y 25

Done with the entire thing. :)

I took the survey! Karma, please!

Never done an IQ test before. I thought it was fun! Now I want to take one of the legitimate ones.

After having read all of the Sequences, I suppose its time I actually registered. I did the survey. Here are the cogno-stats:

Big Five O80 C83 E79 A83 N9 IQ 122 Myers-Briggs E33 N88 T1 J33 Autism 15

I'm doing my PhD in the genetics of epilepsy (so a neurogenetics background is implied). Is anyone familiar with data on the reliability of the various cogno-metrics that are out there?

(Aside: political metrics L/R:-2.25 A/L:-3.54, pretty centrist on most issues, just make them based on actual data and I'll change my view in a femtosecond)

0amcknight9yI'm jealous
0[anonymous]9yI'm jealous of E79 A83 N9 and Autism 15, too. (I also have O80, so that's OK. OTOH my IQ is higher than that.)

I study computer engineering (which is about arranging transistors on silicon to make computer hardware). I checked "Computers (other academic, computer science)," rather than "Engineering," even though computer engineering is not computer science, because I thought that category was more specific than engineering, and less specific than the category including only computer science.

But this was kind of unclear.

On the question "Given that no label can completely describe a person's political views, with which of these labels do you MOST identify?"

I am probably halfway between liberal and libertarian. So I flipped a coin and picked liberal.

For the calibration IQ question, I could have given my probability that my real IQ was higher than the median IQ here. But then you wouldn't be able to check it against anything to determine my calibration, because I have never taken a real IQ test and left the field blank. Maybe you should put a different question instead of that calibration one?

For the Hours Writing question, it says schoolwork counts. Does code count, if written for schoolwork? I guessed no. Do answers to problems from textbooks that are kind of hal... (read more)

[-][anonymous]9y 10

The "Anonymity" question should be broken into two. It doesn't give you an option for "It would be easy to find my real name, and I am unhappy about that."

Yes. In my case, the best answer would be: “It would be non-trivial but still relatively easy for someone who doesn't know me in meatspace to find out my full name and my Facebook profile from what I write on LW, but I can't think of why anyone could be bothered to do that and even if it happened it wouldn't bother me in the slightest. It would bother me if certain people who do know me in meatspace read some of the things I write on LW knowing army1987 is me, and it would be nearly obvious for anyone who knows me in meatspace that army1987 is me, but I think it's pretty unlikely for one of those people to stumble upon LW so I'm not too worried.”

Am I the only person who answered "100" on the cryonics question because "revived at some point in the future" was indefinite enough that a Boltzmann brain-like scenario inevitably occurring eventually seemed reasonable?

Also, I did all the extra credit questions. At twos in the morning.

[-][anonymous]9y 15

I assumed it was supposed to mean ‘revived in a way that wouldn't have been possible if the patient hadn't been cryopreserved’.

0MugaSofer9yDamn, really? I factored in time travel.
1[anonymous]9yI wouldn't even know how to define “will be revived” if time travel were possible. (Assuming that the world-line of a person is continuous and time-like, it means “there's some t in the future such that the person is in the “not alive” state shortly before t and in the “alive” state shortly after t”, which under these assumptions is either true in all frames of references or in none of them. If time travel is possible, then there might be frames of reference in which there are two copies of the person at the same time, one dead and one alive...)
1MugaSofer9yI was thinking magical future brain-scanning before information-theoretic death.
3shminux9yNot if the Universe is too small, or it ends first, or if there is a flaw in the BB model, or if we are in a simulation preventing BB, or... In other words, nothing is 100% and BB least of all.
0drnickbone9yTrue, but presumably Dallas assigns all these scenarios epsilon, leaving 100-epsilon for Boltzmann Brains. (100 doesn't mean absolute certainty in this survey.)
0pragmatist9yThis seems to rely on a controversial theory of personal identity. I'm of the opinion that personal identity requires some sort of causal continuity: for a future person to be me, his mental states must have appropriate causal links to my mental states. That wouldn't be true of a Boltzmann brain. To put it another way, if the universe is spatially infinite, there are presumably Boltzmann brains qualitatively identical to my brain somewhere out there right now (where the "now" is relative to some foliation of space-time, of course). I don't consider those spatially distant BBs to be identical to me, and I'm guessing you wouldn't either. Why should I judge differently if the BB's are not just spatially but also temporally separated from me?
2TheOtherDave9yI have no problem with the idea that there are Boltzmann brains out there right now who are as much me as this body is.
0pragmatist9yReally? If someone (very trustworthy and very powerful) offered you a choice between a minute of intense pleasure administered to the body reading this right now or to a qualitatively identical but spatially very distant body, would you be indifferent?
1TheOtherDave9yIf someone offered this brain a choice between pleasure for this brain and pleasure for that brain, I would no doubt choose the former. Does that mean that nothing but this brain is me? It might also turn out that if someone offered my right brain hemisphere a choice between pleasure for my right-brain and pleasure for my left-brain, I consistently choose pleasure for my right hemisphere. If that turns out to be true, does that mean that nothing but my right hemisphere is me? (If the analogous thing also turns out to be true for my left hemisphere, does that also mean that nothing but my left hemisphere is me? Does it mean there are two of me that don't share an identity? I'm not sure that question even means anything.)
0TraderJoe9y[comment deleted]
-3Dallas9yBoltzmann brain scenarios will occur regardless of any given doomsday.
-1drnickbone9yGood point... And for very similar reasons, anyone who gave a lower probability to the cryonics question than to the many worlds question is inconsistent. Wonder how many people did that? EDIT Surprised a bit by the downvotes here. Did the many worlders interpret "probability of being revived at some point in the future" as "fraction of future worlds in which the person is revived" (or more technically, something like, "quantum measure of future revival across worlds containing humans in a state consistent with our present knowledge"). Rather than "probability of being revived in any future world"? If so, it is consistent to assign a high probability to many worlds, but a low probability to revival. I would also love there to be a question on probability that Santa exists among the religion ones, and then compare answers to that with many worlds. Santa exists in some worlds, after all, even though his measure is miniscule... EDIT: Same issue here. Does a many-worker typically interpret P(Santa Exists) as "measure across worlds consistent with our knowledge in which Santa exists" rather than "probability Santa exists in any world"?

Completed every last question.

Also, I've noticed that on different IQ tests (real ones, not fake ones) my scores vary by as much as 40 points. Hmm.

Done. I think a lot of these questions are really fascinating, including user-submitted questions. I'm especially interested to see if we can do any better at avoiding anchoring than the general public.

I took it.

For the P(Warming) question, you might get people answering different versions of the question on this. For example, my personal evaluation of the probability of warming and that humans are a major cause is very, very high, but my evaluation of the probability that humans are the primary cause is much lower.

Survey completed!

In your base, answering your survey.

Notes (might not want to read unless you've already taken the survey):

V'ir nggraqrq na bayvar zrrghc naq qvqa'g xabj jung gb fnl gb gur zrrghc dhrfgvba, fb V fnvq 'ab'. Fvathynevgl dhrfgvba unf cbffvoyr napubevat rssrpg; tybony png. evfx dhrfgvba zragvbaf gur lrne 2100 evtug orsber vg. Eri. Onlrf pnyvoengvba nafjre fubhyq znlor zragvba jurgure gb hfr crepragntrf be cebonovyvgvrf.

-1Eugine_Nier9yWhat's the difference?
3Dorikka9yThe survey says to answer the other probability questions using percentages (a range from 0->100) rather than probabilities (range from 0->1). If someone forgot, they might forget to multiply by 100, and even though it probably wouldn't be hard to tell the difference, it makes it a bit harder to process the data, I think.

All done! Surprised since my IQ's apparently dropped roughly 20 points in the last 2 years. But everyone knows the internet is reliable when it comes to that. Eagerly awaiting results, when can we expect them to appear on the site?

Also, please do not upvote this comment, as I want my karma to reflect when I've thought something insightful, and only taking a survey to recieve it does not properly reflect this. "By ancient tradition" makes that the most cultish thing I've ever heard lesswrong.

... Maybe topped by "we're a cult" or something of that effect, but still.

Also, please do not upvote this comment, as I want my karma to reflect when I've thought something insightful, and only taking a survey to recieve it does not properly reflect this. "By ancient tradition" makes that the most cultish thing I've ever heard lesswrong.

Upvoted specifically for the second paragraph, specifically because it was insightful.

3[anonymous]9yYour survey data is valuable to the Less Wrong community, upvoting your comment is how you get credited for it.
3[anonymous]9yLast time it took about a month, IIRC. But that is something insightful. So now I have a paradox here... Should I upvote or not?
2Spectral_Dragon9yThanks for the time frame! Simple solution: Aim to move the karma score to what you think it should be, based on the actual wisdom of the comment. I have no preference on the upvote - I'm just thrilled I've achieved a new high score on a comment, considering my second record was set by the comment "I'm bad at math" in more eloquent terms.
0[anonymous]9yYes, there's a tendency for witty remarks (and quotations) to skyrocket to karma scores that actual novel insights seldom achieve.

Took it minus the three personality tests and minus the very last few questions. I still know my IQ from a former test and I had my NEO-FFI results already stored somewhere but couldn't find the right hard-drive quick enough. Autism... don't think I would score very high on that but my fallible intuition says lesswrong seems like quite the paradise for autistic personalities.

Sincerely curious about the results :)

I also guessed the size of the biggest redwood tree incredibly well :) By converting my guesstimate in meters to some form of archaic measurement only used by cavemen and Americans. What's up with that?

5RobinZ9yOnly officially used by Liberia, Burma/Myanmar, and the United States - quite a lot of people in the UK defy the mandate of their governments and continue using traditional measurements.
8Peterdjones9yDespite what the Daily Mail [http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=little%20englander] would have you think, "The Units of Measurement Regulations 1995 require that all measuring devices used in trade or retail be capable of displaying measurements for most products in both metric and imperial quantities" (WP, emph. added). Moreover, "many imperial units [are] still legally mandated for some application; draught beer must be sold in pints,[31] road-sign distances must be in yards and miles,[32] length and width (but not weight) restrictions must be in feet and inches on road signs (although an equivalent in metres may be shown as well),[32] and road speed limits must be in miles per hour,[32"
5DaFranker9yAFAIK, very few scientists anywhere in the world (except USA) use "traditional" measurements, so I was also surprised that non-SI units would be used in a LessWrong survey. It's not a big issue for me, but the additional complications in converting units (and the non-standard cross-unit conversions within the imperial system too) do distract from more important matters IMO. That's kind of the whole point of the SI, apart from striving for more accuracy in the measurements.
4Vaniver9yMy experience is that most scientists (in the US) use SI units in the lab, and the imperial units everywhere else. Water boils at 100 degrees, and it's 98 degrees outside.
5wedrifid9yThis reads as if it is intended to be a contradiction of the grandparent. This is odd because it actually strengthens the grandparent's claim. US scientists were already outright excluded from the claim so your additional testimony just enhances (!USA) to (!USA || USA && LAB). Pardon me if I misread the intended message (the other interpretation is that the comment is a misleading non-sequitur.) Following the 'sharing anecdotal impression' line my experience is that scientists use SI units in the lab as well as elsewhere. Exceptions, with respect to "feet" in particular are for approximations of (human) height or when talking to people over 50 years old. Fahrenheit is never used but can be parsed and translated from foreign sources in much the same way that Cuneiform can be translated if absolutely necessary.
3Vaniver9yI was adding anecdotal evidence about US scientists, which I somehow missed were excluded from the claim. Thanks for pointing out the oddity.
3wedrifid9ynod. It was easy to miss, I only saw it on second read myself. Before that I had only typed my own Australian anecdotal perspective.
0[anonymous]9yI had missed that, too. (On the other hand, while I -- a non-US scientist -- do measure my own weight in kilos, kilos are arguably the traditional unit of body weight measurement in my country. And I do sometimes use pints for draught beer.)

Next year the survey should include an option to explain why your IQ is actually higher than was measured.

4Divide9yI dunno, on my test it came up higher than expected (and higher than the result of a pro test they gave me in primary school once).
3Kindly9yI guess this year we can assume that everybody had such an explanation, and imagine the best possible version of it, sight unseen.
3RobinZ9yDibs on "I took the survey really late at night and I was tired"!

Done! I only estimated my amount of time in the community, though, which may lead to an amusing disagreement with last year's survey.

2Cakoluchiam9yI too had to estimate my time in the community (even though this is my first day posting anything)—I started lurking shortly after Yvain mentioned it in his blog, but he is a prolific enough writer that digging through those archives would be a mind-numbing task. Perhaps there's someone else who's done the dirty work for me? (hoping)
1Vaniver9yLast time, I figured it out by writing a script that went through my comments until it hit the earliest one, but that only worked because I made an account as soon as I got here. (I probably could have gone hunting for the results of that script, but I didn't care as much this time around.) I imagine Yvain has mentioned LW on his blog enough times that it'd be difficult to do an automated solution (but you might be able to just make a list of links to LW from posts, then choose from those).
2Cakoluchiam9yThanks for the idea. I know he referenced OvercomingBias for a while before LessWrong, and I read a handful of articles there, but I think my sparse interest in following anything, aside from what was crossposted or linked at Yvain's blog, makes any claim of seniority a potential false representation of my expertise. This is sort of the inverse problem of the way I counted the start of my last relationship more than a year earlier than my then-partner would. One good thing I can say for weddings (aside from marriage) is that at least they solidify a date to count as anniversary. So, I suppose now that I've finally registered an account, I can count today for future anniversaries between myself and LessWrong.

Done, except for the very last part and the IQ questions (I have never taken a proper test).

Took the survey.

I hope this question isn't used the way I worry it will be used:

CFAR Question 3

A certain town is served by two hospitals. In the larger hospital, about 45 babies are born each day. In the smaller one, about 15 babies are born each day. Although the overall proportion of girls is about 50%, the actual proportion at either hospital may be greater or less on any day. At the end of a year, which hospital will have the greater number of days on which more than 60% of the babies born were girls?

This question was easy for me to answer by pattern-matching to the Law of Small Numbers, as outlined in Thinking, Fast and Slow. If I hadn't read that, it's hard to say whether I would have reasoned it out correctly. So if many respondents answer this question correctly, I hope that the survey authors don't claim evidence that LW readers are better at statistical reasoning -- it'd be more accurate to say that LW readers are more likely to have seen this very particular question before.

(I could, naturally, be assuming too much about the intents of the survey authors.)

9MixedNuts9yIntuitive answer: Picture a horizontal line and points scattered around it. If there are many points, the line will be dark and there'll be a cloud around it. If there are few points, you'll get a vague shape and it won't be easy to tell where the line originally was. Rigorous answer: print [ len(filter(lambda x: x > 0.6 *per_day, [ sum([ randint(0,1) for birth in range(0, per_day) ]) for day in range(0, 365) ])) for per_day in (15, 45) ] Thoughtful answer: Why would I bother thinking? Fetch me an apple. Edit: For copulation's sake, whose kneecaps do I have to break to make Markdown leave my indentation the Christian Underworld alone, and who wrote those filthy blatant lies masquerading as comment formatting help?

For another intuitive answer, try lower values of 15, like 1.

The Python code works better, on my machine, if I add the line "from random import randint" at the top.

3Emile9yThere may be a more convenient method, but using non-breaking spaces ( ) works. print [ len(filter(lambda x: x > 0.6 *per_day, [ sum([ randint(0,1) for birth in range(0, per_day) ]) for day in range(0, 365) ])) for per_day in (15, 45) ]
0[anonymous]9yCertain browsers (early versions of Firefox, at least) for some reason automatically replace all hard spaces with regular spaces when submitting a form.
3FAWS9ydoes prefacing with 4 extra spaces work? EDIT: Apparently not. Very likely a bug then.
3[anonymous]9yThe usual kludge is to replace spaces with full stops.
2dbaupp9yThat's not such a rigorous answer: Imagine you have a random sample with n observations x_1, ..., x_n, independently and identically distributed according to some distribution with mean mu and variance s^2. The sample mean is sum(x_i)/n (the expected value is mu as one would hope). Doing some manipulations we find that this has variance s^2/n, i.e. a large n means a small variance, so larger samples are more tightly clustered around mu.
0[anonymous]9yprint [ len(filter(lambda x: x > 0.6 *per_day, [ sum([ randint(0,1) for birth in range(0, per_day) ]) for day in range(0, 365) ])) for per_day in (15, 45) ]
9gwern9yI don't understand the distinction you are making here. If you can answer correctly more statistical questions, how is that not being 'better at statistical reasoning'? Every area of thought draws heavily on memorization and caching.

If you can answer correctly more statistical questions, how is that not being 'better at statistical reasoning'?

Those are related abilities, but there's being able to answer specific questions and then there's being able to apply what you've learned more generally. For me, this particular question triggered more "aha! I've seen this one before!" than it triggered statistical thought. A correct answer to the question might give you a smidgen of information on whether the answerer can reason about statistics, but it probably gives you a lot more information about whether the answerer has seen the question before.

One superficial example of dealing with this problem is how, in my college discrete math class, the professor gave us a problem involving placing pigeons in holes, with the solution having nothing to do with the pigeonhole principle. Even better than obfuscating a problem, of course, is stating a novel one that exercises the skills you're testing for.

6[anonymous]9yBTW, I had seen the CFAR Question 1 before.
2[anonymous]9yOn the other hand, I hadn't seen it before, but still got it correct.
0AnthonyC9yI have not read Thinking Fast and Slow, but the answer to this follows directly from binomial probability distributions, which (at least in NY) were part of the 11th grade math curriculum as of 2004. That doesn't mean most people will notice the connection, but technically they've been exposed to all the necessary information to solve it.

Took the whole survey. My preferred political label of (Radical) Centrist survived all explicit radio buttons.

Survey taken: check! Account finally registered: check, please!

I was off by 50%ish on the two estimation questions, but I forgive myself Bayes' age since I really know nothing about history in "space-of-time" context. The redwood tree on the other hand was a geometry problem for me, more than anything else, and I misjudged its incline by half a degree.

5Cakoluchiam9yAlso, just spent an hour I should have spent sleeping upvoting all the comments that explicitly mentioned taking the test, and a few that were just insightful. (yelling) Curse you squid-god of time, for reawakening the sleeping demon that is my love for census, long forgotten in the archives of naturalization! (/yelling)
4Cakoluchiam9yV rfgvzngrq ol nffhzvat gur gerr jnf nobhg gjragl srrg va qvnzrgre (fbzrguvat V erzrzore sebz zl Ylprhz qnlf jvgu pvepn avargl creprag pbasvqrapr), naq unq nobhg na rvtugl-avar qrterr vapyvar (bar qrterr gncre), juvpu V pbhyq rfgvzngr ol bofreivat n inevrgl bs rireterraf va zl ivpvavgl. Sebz gurer, vg jnf fvzcyr gevtbabzrgel.

I answered everything but the personality test links, I will take them when I have more free time.

1MaoShan9yHere were my scores from the various linked tests, which I have now taken: Political Compass Economic Left/Right: -3.12 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.10 O: 76 C: 74 E: 4 A: 4 N: 37 (My wife scored me as well, and she came up with nearly identical numbers for me!) I: 89% N: 38% T: 38% J: 67% (I remember taking this test before, and got "INTJ" then, too.) AQ: 38 (I think I took the same test linked from LW in the past, and had the same score back then.) IQ: 118 (I vaguely have a memory of taking a different form of the test in my teens, with a similar outcome.)
2MaoShan9yOn a side-note, I don't know why there's so much hating going on towards the Meyers-Briggs test; if it came up with stuff like "You are an INTJ. This means that you have twelve fingers, enjoy ice-skating, and have a raw vegetable fetish." I would be inclined to call it "bullshit", but not for providing some vague generalizations which basically just summarize the answers that I just provided. That's not worth throwing chairs over, in my opinion.
7wedrifid9yI like the balanced perspective. I've usually found dismissals of MBTI to be based on the wrong criteria. It is nearly absurd to expect that a test based on that much data to be worthless. Instead the "skeptical" expectation should be "MBTI isn't likely to carve reality efficiently at its joints and the same data could be used to break up individuals according to a different combinations groupings which leads to more effective predictions and advice". It does seem like "types" should be chosen after the systematic collection of data.
2[anonymous]9yThat's one reason why I prefer the Big Five. (The other is that I understand what the Big Five traits are supposed to mean much better than what the MBTI traits are supposed to mean, but that might be just because I've read more about the former.)
2wedrifid9yI've had more exposure to the MBTI but would suggest the Big Five as a more useful predictive tool for the same reason. I've actually never tried a B5 test. Maybe worth a look!

Completed. Huzzah! I feel like a participating member of the community.

[-][anonymous]9y 22


I took most of the survey, except for the (aptly named) “Unreasonably Long and Complicated Questions” at the end.