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actually... I don't agree with this example as being a good example of intuition failing. the problem is people think about this scenario as if it were real life. in real life there would be a delayed payout. in the case of a delayed payout on their "ticket" the ticket with 100% certainty is more LIQUID than the ticket with the better expectation. liquidity itself has utility. maybe the liquidity of the certain payoff is only due to the rest of society being dumb; however even if that is the case if you know the rest of society is dumb you must take that into account when making your decision. in this case the brain does not seem to be wrong and seems to actually be choosing correctly. the brain is just taking your example and adding lots of extra details to it to make it feel more realistic (this is certainly an undesired effect for researchers trying to learn about people's thoughts or interests but who cares about them). the brain often adds a bunch of assumed details to a confusing situation, this is basically the definition of how intuition works. now, you have to consider the odds of this exact example coming up or the odds of the imagined example coming up... and how well the brain will likely handle each situation... then use that information to determine if the brain is actually mistaken or not.

in the case of electronic store warranties they usually aren't worthwhile because they are designed to not be worthwhile. just like mail-in rebates are designed to often go unredeemed... however in the case where your personal time is more valuable by far than any of the costs, it starts to make sense.

on another note how rich did feynmann or kac get? (either a ton, or not that much depending on if they wanted to help people or take their pennies!)