A friend of mine's been developing a test for a novel, and potentially critical, kind of intelligence - risk intelligence. Do you think you are a good judge of risk? Are you good at judging probabilities? More importantly, are you honest with yourself about what you really know and don't know - or do you just guess wildly and then con yourself into thinking you know the answer?
This is the kind of intelligence that Dylan Evans, a behaviorual scientist at University College, Cork, is talking about. It's important because arguably the awful financial mess the world has got itself into is because people generally are pretty risk-stupid. Those bankers misjudged the trouble they were getting into; had too much confidence in the gambles they were taking, and this got us all into big trouble.
Expert gamblers - the ones who really work at their skill, think numerically, and keep records - have no higher general IQ even though they can sometimes make money out of gambling. Maybe they have higher risk intelligence.
So how about you? Dylan has devised a test for risk intelligence and is in the process of trying it out. So you can be one of the guinea pigs and see how you do.
You can find the test here.
When you've done it do give us all some feedback on how you did and what you thought about it.
And I should let you know - I expected to do rather well. After all I've done lots of research on probabilities and I know quite a bit about the way people misjudge probabilities. But this test gets at something a bit different. And I did very badly!

If you want to know more there's an article in the Times Online, or you can visit Dylan's website.

About the Author

Susan Blackmore

Susan Blackmore, Ph.D., is a British psychologist, writer and broadcaster, and author of The Meme Machine and Conversations on Consciousness.

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