The Monty Hall Paradox
Get your head around the Monty Hall Paradox and change the way you think about risk, chance and decision-making.
I recently came across a reference to "The Monty Hall Paradox", a discussion based on a show called "Let's Make a Deal".
It meant nothing to me so I looked it up on the internet and was immediately stunned. There are dozens, maybe hundreds or even thousands of websites dedicated to this phenomenon. The problem is as simple - it goes like this:
You are asked to pick one of three doors. Goats are behind two of them and a new car is behind the other. After you choose your door, but before it's revealed to you, the host of the show opens one of the doors you didn't choose and reveals a goat. He then asks if you'd like to switch from your initial choice to the remaining door. And that's when everything falls apart. All the host has done is to introduce a trace of doubt into your mind. At that moment you doubted him and doubted yourself. And you are probably incapable of making any decision at that instant.
According to the arguments and debates on the internet, you stand a better chance of winning, twice as good, actually, if you switch your choice. It sounds crazy and the arguments for and against are convoluted and difficult to follow.
The Monty Hall Paradox is called a veridical paradox, that is, a puzzle that produces a result that appears absurd but is nevertheless demonstrated to be true. There are many different types of paradoxes, some making sense and others seemingly impossible. Just the definition of a paradox is confusing enough: A paradox is an apparently true statement or group of statements that leads to a contradiction or a situation which defies intuition. Get it?