Influence

Summary of main points and examples from “Influence, Science and Practice” by Robert B. Cialdini We are easier to manipulate than we would like to think, in fact, we seem to consistently underestimate the effects of reciprocity, concessions, scarcity, authority, social proof and liking – all factors exploitable by clever agents aiming to either influence us to change our beliefs or just to buy or help them sell their product, be it vacuum cleaners or charity donations. Then there are small tricks like just adding “because” to a request making people automatically – in a subconcious, Click, Whirr type effect – be much more likely to comply. We make a lot of decisions based on incomplete information, and this has become a necessity given the huge amount of information available to us. Businesses can use this to their advantage by presenting key points that might convince us to buy their product, e.g. by stating that their toothpaste is the most sold, and if this is true, it probably isn’t a bad toothpaste – we have used a minimal amount of time and we get a decent product. It’s rather the attempts to manipulate us based of false information that we should strike down upon – exploiting our reliability on these shortcuts.

1. Reciprocity & Concessions
“And thou shalt take no gift; for a gift blindeth them that have the sight and perverteth the words of the righteous.” - Exodus 23:8 We feel a strong need to give something back after having received a gift, and that’s usually a good thing, but when given a low-cost “token” gift we can be manipulated into giving something back of much greater value. Furthermore the obligation we feel to receive gifts makes the reciprocity rule easy to exploit.  In one experiment, giving someone a coke made them buy twice as many tickets, and it made no difference whether they liked the salesman or not, reciprocity overwhelmed the liking factor, and gave the salesman a 500% return on the coke he bought p23, 33. Give people good food and they also start liking things better p164. Hare-Krishna used to give people a book, a magazine or a flower (the recipient were under no circumstances to give back the gift), to afterwards ask for a donation. This turned out to be a highly successful benefactor-before-beggar strategy p25. Sending a $5 gift check along with an insurance survey was proven twice as effective as offering a $50 payment for sending back the completed survey p26. US Congressional Representatives receiving the most special-interest group money on six key issues during the 2002 campaign cycle were over 7 times more likely to vote in favor of the

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group that had contributed most money to their campaigns. Still elected officials believe they are immune to such influence p28. Concessions: We feel obliged to make concessions to someone who has made a concession to us: If you move from a large to a smaller request; the other person feels that he has to accept your offer since you made a concession to him. And after having accepted a concession or made a concession that got accepted, one feels greater responsibility for and satisfaction with the arrangement – you have actively been part of the decision process.  By first asking students to spend two hours per week as counselors to juvenile delinquents for a minimum of two years, and then retreating to offer to “only” guide the kids for a one day zoo trip, the success rate increased from 17% to 50% for the last request (but if the first set of demands is too extreme to be seen as reasonable, the tactic might backfire) p39. If declining a salesman’s offer, the salesman might ask for the names of friends or relatives possibly interested in the product, making a concession you’ll feel obliged to accept p39. Watergate: Gordon Liddy first described a $1 million program including in addition to bugging Watergate; break-ins, kidnapping, mugging squads etc. Then he offered a $500 000 plan, and at last a (still foolish) $250 000 plan got approved p44. When two subjects have to discuss how to divide a fixed amount of money between them (no one gets anything if exceeding a time limit), beginning with extreme demands give you the most money, and the subjects targeted by this strategy was surprisingly the most satisfied with the final arrangement – people are happier when they feel responsible for getting a better deal p44, 45.

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2. Commitment and Consistency
After placing bets people are much more confident of their horse’s chances of winning, possibly due to our desire to be and to appear consistent with what we have already done – we simply convince ourselves that we have made the right choice and feel better about our decision p52, 71. One can also use small commitments to manipulate a person’s self-image, turning citizens into public servants, prospects into customers and prisoners into collaborators. Once you’ve got a person’s selfimage where you want it, that person should comply naturally with a whole range of requests consistent with this new self-view. There are however conditions that should be present for this to be effective, the choices should be active, public, effortful and freely chosen. People use their own behaviors as a measure to decide what they’re like; it’s a primary source of information about one’s beliefs, values and attitudes p67. It seems like active commitments give us the kind of information we use to shape selfimage that in turn shape future actions, further solidifying this new self-image. In addition, our preference for consistency increases with age; people beyond 50 are the most “vulnerable” p94. Cultural differences can also have a significant effect: American students were more

than twice as likely as Asian students to agree to a request because they had agreed to a prior, similar request p95.  When a thief stole a radio from a beach, he only generated a reaction 4/20 times - four people challenged the thief. But If having asked a potential witness: “please watch my things”, something everyone agreed to, 19/20 subjects actually tried to stop the thief p53. After being confronted with several logical errors in their argumentation, a couple of transcendental meditation lectures got more signups, so they signed up as they wanted to believe that TM was their answer, and that something must be done quick before logic takes its toll and leaves them without hope again p56. Toy stores run ads for toys they undersupply before Christmas: parents promise the toys to their kids to find that they have run out before Christmas, forcing them to first buy another gift and after Christmas, to remain consistent, they buy the advertised toy p58, 59. Steven J. Sherman called a sample of people as part of a survey asking them to predict what they would say if asked to spend three hours collecting money for the American Cancer Society. Most people said that they would volunteer, generating a 700% increase in volunteers when, a few days later, a representative from the ACS called and asked for canvassers p60. Asking jurors: “If you were the only person who believed in my client’s innocence, could you withstand the pressure of the rest of the jury to change your mind?” Increases the chances hung juries p60. (Perhaps using “reasonable doubt” is even more effective). When asking for donations to foreign aid it helps to first ask “How are you, are you doing fine” etc. answering “Just fine”, or “Really good” makes it harder for you to not give aid to those who are not well - we find it awkward to appear stingy in the context of our own admittedly favored circumstances, and in this case it increased the positive replies from 18 to 32% p61. The Foot-in-door technique: having accepted to display a little three inch square sign that read “BE A SAFE DRIVER” in their front lawns, 76% agreed to set up a large public service billboard with DRIVE CAREFULLY poorly lettered. Only 17% agreed without having previously agreed to display the small sign, but surprisingly, 50% agreed if having made a small commitment to sate beautification, probably changing their self-view in a similar way p64, 65. Lowballing: Some car dealers give a very low price for their car, say $400 below the normal asking price, and then lets customers “take it for a spin” making them generate new reasons as to why they should buy the car, one probably being time spent “buying it”. When returning to pay for the car there is an error in the price calculation; “I’m sorry, there was an error in blabla, my boss told me I can’t sell it to you for that price as we’d be losing money”. By now most will have invented new reasons to buy the car; the deal goes through and they are still pleased with their choice. Only 24% of students being asked to participate in a 0700 AM study “on thinking processes” agreed to participate, whereas 56% agreed after having first been ask is they wanted to participate in a study on thinking processes, and first after having answered yes they were given the information that they had to show up at 0700 AM – no one changed their minds p85. Families saved significantly more gas after having been informed that their names would be publicized in newspaper articles portraying them as public-spirited, fuel conserving citizens.

When they were informed that it would not be possible to publicize their names after all, they actually conserved more fuel the remaining winter months, from 12 to 15% p87. (Hinting to that we generate new reasons for our decisions!)

People also have a natural tendency to think that a statement reflects the true attitude of the person who made it (or that a statement about themselves is true), and surprisingly they continue to think so even when they know that the person didn’t freely choose to make it p68. When it comes to making commitments, the more effort goes into it, the greater its ability to influence the attitudes of the person who made it; missing in ads for popular music concerts: the price, not stated on car ads: the fact that more potential buyers will be scheduled to show at the same time, even though the last example work partly due to social pressure, they both increase the chances of making the customer go through with the deal by making them spend time on it p73. The same holds true for tribal initiation rites such as Hell Week for students joining a fraternity; the more strenuous the ritual, the stronger the commitment. A good example of this is an experiment where a woman received electric shocks as part of an initiation ceremony; the stronger shocks she received, the more she later persuaded herself that her new group and its activities were interesting, intelligent and desirable p78.   One week after being told they were charitable people, homemakers in New Haven significantly more money to a canvasser from the Multiple Sclerosis Association p68. Some companies make the customer rather than the salesperson fill out the sales agreement, something proven to be a “very important psychological aid in preventing customers from backing out of their contracts” p70. Students having written down and publicized a decision are the most loyal to their choices even after given new information proving they were incorrect. And those having privately written down their decision was more loyal to their choice than those who hadn’t p72. Hung juries are significantly more frequent if the jurors have to express their opinions with a visible show of hands rather than by secret ballot, as they are reluctant to change their views after having made them public p72. Weight loss programs are often only effective when the clients write down their weight-loss goals and show that goal to as many friends and relatives as possible p72.

“He who agrees against his will / Is of the same opinion still” – Samuel Butler One prerequisite for these influences to be powerful is that the subject goes through with it not believing it is being done for charitable purposes or to get a big reward: “We accept inner responsibility for a behavior when we think we have chosen to perform it in the absence of strong outside pressure” p80. Also suggesting that we should never heavily bribe or threaten our children to get long lasting changes in behavior: Being disallowed to play with a robot because it would make the parent upset, would make the kid chose to play with it 77% of the time when encountering it in another setting, but being told that “It is wrong to play with the robot” then only 33% chose to play with it later on p81, 82.

3. Social Proof
As a rule we normally make fewer mistakes by acting in accord with social evidence rather than by acting contrary to it. In the case of canned laughter, social proof functions in a mindless and reflexive fashion. Advertisers love to tell us that their product is the “fastest-growing” or “largest-selling”. An important factor in the influence of all social proof is the likeness of the people we are observing to us; donations to charity more than doubled when the requester claimed to be similar to the donation targets in one experiment, and school based anti-smoking campaigns had lasting effects only when it used same-age peers as teachers p118.     Canned laughter causes an audience to laugh longer and more often when humorous material is presented, and to rate the material as funnier, in addition it is most effective for poor jokes p98. Bartenders, beggars and street performers salt (put money in) their tip jars, cups and violin cases. Clubs want to show their quality by generating long waiting lines outside – even If there is ample room inside. Only watching a little boy playing happily with a dog for 20 minutes over 4 days made 67% of kids previously terrified by dogs happily play with them, film clips provided the same effect and socially isolated children started playing with their peers after watching a movie of children actively participating in play - they only needed to watch a 23 minute movie once! p100 - 102. A university teacher in Arkansans told housewives that other named housewives had bought his product: his sales increased 119% p119.

Uncertainty is another important factor; the inventor of shopping carts had to hire people to wheel them through the store to get people to use his new invention. So when other people are not doing something, e.g. not helping someone in need or not using shopping carts, our pluralistic ignorance/uncertainty kicks in. A stark example of this is the Genovese incident outlined below. In another experiment inspired by this an epileptic seizure was staged and observed by a single individual or by a group of people, recording the number of times the victim received help. The subject received help 85% of the time when there was a single bystander, but only 31% of the time with five bystanders present p 113. A good defense against this would be to target a single person in the crowd, giving specific instructions for him to help you.  The Genovese incident: A woman got stabbed to death in the streets of Queens, even though there were 38 witnesses present; no one helped precisely because of that fact, as with several potential helpers around, the personal responsibility of each individual is reduced and everybody observing the event is likely to be looking for social evidence that helping is the thing to do p110-112.

A cult leader explained why the earth hadn’t perished at the predicted date with the following sentiment: “The little group, sitting alone all night long, had spread so much light that God had saved the world from destruction.” - When the physical evidence is false, the social evidence has to be changed.

The Werther Effect: It has been shown that immediately following certain kinds of highly publicized suicide stories, the number of people who die in commercial-airline crashes increases by up to 1000%, and the number of car crash fatalities rise as well p120. There is no solid evidence indicating that it is the same negative social conditions making more people commit suicide, and other places existing under similar social conditions whose newspapers did not publish the story have shown no comparable jump in fatalities. And the greater the publicity of the story, the greater the number of “accidents”, furthermore stories reporting suicide victims who died alone produce an increase in the frequency of single-fatality wrecks only, whereas stories reporting suicide-plus-murder incidents produce an increase in multiple fatality wrecks only p121, this has been called the “Werther effect”.1  Homicides or widely publicized acts of violence also seem to produce a similar copycat effect; heavyweight championship prize fights receiving coverage on network evening news appear to produce measurable increases in US homicide rate, and when the match is lost by a black fighter, the homicide rate rose significantly the following 10 days only for young black male victims vice versa. After the Gerber baby food incident where baby food got laced with glass, on average 30 more incidents of the same sort were spawned, a similar effect seems to hold true for true for school killings p126. The Jonestown Massacre: 910 people died after drinking poison in a collective suicide, might have been partly due to social proof that suicide was correct in the absence of “normal civilization”. Pilots are known to have focused on mounting social evidence for landing (the fact that each in a line of prior aircraft had landed safely) rather than on the actual weather conditions p137.

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A copycat suicide is defined as a duplication or copycat of another suicide that the person attempting suicide knows about either from local knowledge or due to accounts or depictions of the original suicide on television and in other media. Sometimes this is known as a Werther effect, following the Werther novel of Goethe. The wellknown suicide serves as a model, in the absence of protective factors, for the next suicide. This is referred to as [1] suicide contagion . They occasionally spread through a school system, through a community, or in terms of a [1] celebrity suicide wave, nationally. This is called a suicide cluster . Examples of celebrities whose suicides have inspired suicide clusters include the Japanese musician Hide and Yukiko Okada. To prevent this type of suicide, it is customary in some countries for the media to discourage suicide reports except in special cases…Various countries have national journalism codes which range from one extreme of, "Suicide and attempted suicide should in general never be given any mention." (Norway) – Wikipedia, copycat suicide

4. Liking
We obviously prefer to say yes to the requests of people we know and like, and that’s a good thing, but it can easily be exploited. But how do come like someone? Do we have to send 13 000 former customers holiday greeting cards each month reading “I like you” each month to become the world’s greatest car salesman? Physical attractiveness is an important factor; we automatically assign good looking individuals such favorable traits as talent, kindness, honesty and intelligence p146. A study of the 1974 Canadian federal elections found that attractive candidates received more than 2 ½ times more votes that unattractive candidates. In another study it was shown that attractive people are paid on average 12-14% more and that attractive defendants are twice as likely to avoid jail as unattractive ones p147. Similarity: “We like people who are similar to us”, seeming to hold true whether it is similarity in the area of opinions, personality traits, background or lifestyle. We even tend to prefer people who dress like us and have similar names to us p148. People were more likely to buy insurance when a salesperson was like them in age, religion, politics and cigarette smoking habits p149. When the surveyor modified his name to be similar to the survey recipient, it nearly doubled the survey compliance p149. Flattery: We are “phenomenal suckers” for flattery, and tend, as a rule, to believe praise and to like those who provide it. It has also been shown that positive comments produced just as much liking for the flatterer when they were untrue as when they were true p151. On the flip-side: we tend to dislike people bringing bad news and like those who bring good news (the popularity of a weatherman increased dramatically after moving to sunny Phoenix p160). (Repeat) exposure: The more frequently a person’s face was flashed on the screen, the more these subjects came to like that person when they met in subsequent interaction. And the more frequently a camera ad appeared on a website, the more the participants came to like it, even if not aware of seeing the ad p152. Students were in one study willing to spend 29% more for mail-order catalog items when they examined them in a room containing MasterCard insignias, and they did not know these were a part of the experiment. Even having such symbols present at a charity fundraiser makes people spend more, even if not able to pay by card p162. In the same manner, SALE signs increase sales, even if the items are not on sale p163. We VS they: just letting two groups of boys in a summer camp assign names to their groups increased competition between them, if in addition arranging competitive activities between the groups across group hatred was spurred p154. (The scientists were only able to resolve the ongoing conflict by arranging situations where corporation between the groups was required).

5. Authority
Subjects with no personal stake in a topic are primarily persuaded by the speaker’s expertise in a field rather than evaluating his arguments p9. Milgram demonstrated the power of authority in 1974 when demanding that people gave a test subject stronger and stronger electrical shocks (up to 450V) even though the subjects (who were actors not actually being shocked) screamed in pain. A group of 39 psychiatrists estimated that 1-2% would be willing to continue to the end, but the result was that 65% carried out their duty faithfully (albeit with great remorse) through to the maximum shock (sex was irrelevant) p176, 177. The point that it is the authority of the scientist that made people go through with the experiment was proven when they were given no directions to continue the experiment: 100% of the subjects refused to give another shock when the test subject reported it was painful, they even stopped if the actor asked them to continue. If two scientists gave opposing messages (to continue/not continue) subjects ended the shocks. Other factors giving people the power of authority can be clothes, status symbols, fame etc.  Nurses will drop eardrops into a patient’s anus if instructed to do so by a doctor, or even if only given the instruction over the phone by a person pretending to be one, even giving dangerously excessive doses of unauthorized drugs p187. Larry King will only shift voice style toward people of greater social standing. Even if we know an actor is playing a doctor recommending a product, we still subconsciously believe in his authority as a doctor p184. (This can backfire if you want to keep a light tone with someone; never tell them that you’re a professor). Clothing: Nearly all pedestrians complied if being asked to give a dime to a guy who’s over parked did so if asked by a person dressed as a guard, but less than half if dressed normally. And people underestimate the influence a uniform have on them p189. 3 ½ times as many people will step into traffic after a suited jaywalker than a normally clad person. Motorists wait significantly longer to honk at a luxury car than they do towards an economy mode, and people consistently underestimate the time they would use to do so (we predict how we should act) p190.

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6. Scarcity
“The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.” – G.K Chesterton Opportunities or items seem more valuable to us when they are less available, and people generally seem to be more motivated by the thought of losing something than be the thought of gaining something of equal value p200. Businesses frequently exploit this fact and sell more products when they make them seem less available and f.x. giving time limited offers as people frequently find themselves doing what they otherwise wouldn’t simply because time is running out p204. And we hate losing freedoms we already have. It is also believed that revolutions are often caused not by gradually worsening conditions, but rather at short and abrupt downturns in periods of improving economic and

social conditions p214. Competition is also a factor in creating or boosting the effect of scarcity, such as when people have to cue up for a limited amount of items, or even when a lover reveal or invent the attention of a new admirer. Censorship can also work against its intention by making information scarce.  When giving boys the choice between two toys to play with, they only made faster contact with the obstructed toy if the barrier was high enough to be a true obstacle (3 times faster than the unobstructed toy) p206. Parental interference made teen partners view one another more critically, but also made them feel greater love and desire for marriage p208. Individuals holding a weak or unpopular message can better spread the word by arranging to have it restricted/censored p210. Age restricting a book made students want to read it more and believe that they would like it more than if it was not restricted p211. Judges can rule information inadmissible – disallowing the jurors from using it in reaching a verdict – this can have the exact opposite effect p212. A beef-importing company tried to sell beef to customers by presenting them “secret” information that beef would become scarce, this “double whammy” made customers purchase 6 times more beef than those given a standard sales representation p213. We like two cookies better than ten, but like the two the most if we had ten to begin with p213, 214. Furthermore, those cookies becoming scarce through the process of social demand (other subjects need them) were significantly more liked than those that became scarce through mistake – we want something most when there’s competition over it p218.

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Observations beyond the book
Emotional content When witnesses give emotional testimonies, juries belive them (citation!!!)

Dan Ariely, cheating, using tokens instead of money doubled cheating vs being given money directly. (increasing the "fudge factor). Don't cheat on the 10 commandments, or remind them on their morality, they cheat less (if we were to state that we would not cheat, we wouldnt).

Using an actor, social proof, carniege melon student cheating went up, when university of pitsburg sweatshirt, cheating went down. Influence on stockmarkets, many steps removed from money. It's very difficult to believe that your own intuition is wrong. Tearing down defenses Tell people what they are thinking, and why what they are thinking/why their preconceptions are wrong. Tell people what defense mechanisms they use, and why it’s not a good idea to do so in THIS case. Portray yourself as a friend? Look at techniques used to hook spies – probably one of the hardest sells there are. Seemingly arguing against one’s own financial interests seem to instill trust in the customer, likewise noting down prominent failures and explanations for them can generate a much better response on a CV – honesty sells p195. May I use the Xerox machine? Adding “because” even though giving no reason increases chances of a yes from 60 to 93% p4. Items that have no publicly known price (like handmade jewelry) can sell much better at double their prices – reflecting the quality of the product, where expensive = good and inexpensive = bad p4. The power of contrast People become less pleased with the sexual desirability of their current spouse after being exposed to pinups p.12. Selling houses, showing people unattractive ones first makes the actual target look better p.13. Selling the costly items first pays off, as the other items will seem cheap in comparison, doing it the other way around makes the expensive item seem even more expensive. Or after agreeing on the price of a car, it is easier to sell accessories as they seem cheap. p.13, 15

Sciam mind 09 People accept ideas more readily when their minds are in story mode as opposed to an analytical mindset. Happily ever afterThe power of stories does not stop with their ability to reveal the workings of our minds. Narrative is also a potent persuasive tool, according to Hogan and other researchers, and it has the ability to shape beliefs and change minds.Advertisers have long taken advantage of narrative persuasiveness by sprinkling likable characters or funny stories into their commercials. A 2007 study by marketing research-er Jennifer Edson Escalas of Vanderbilt University found that a test audience responded more positively to advertise-ments in narrative form as compared with straightforward ads that encouraged viewers to think about the arguments for a product. Similarly, Green co-authored a

2006 study that showed that labeling information as “fact” increased crit-ical analysis, whereas labeling information as “ἀction” had the opposite effect. Studies such as these suggest people accept ideas more readily when their minds are in story mode as opposed to when they are in an analytical mind-set.Works of ἀction may even have unexpect-ed real-world effects on people’s choices. Merlot was one of the most popular red wines among Americans until the 2005 ἀlm Side-ways depicted actor Paul Giamatti as an ornery wine lover who snubbed it as a common, inferior wine. Winemakers saw a noticeable drop in sales of the red wine that year, particularly after Sideways garnered national attention through several Oscar nominations.As researchers continue to investigate storytelling’s pow-er and pervasiveness, they are also looking for ways to har-ness that power. Some such as Green are studying how stories can have applications in promoting positive health messages. “A lot of problems are behaviorally based,” Green says, pointing to research documenting the inḀuence of Holly-wood ἀlms on smoking habits among teens. And Mar and Oatley want to further examine how stories can enhance social skills by acting as simulators for the brain, which may turn the idea of the socially crippled bookworm on its head. One thing is clear—although research on stories has only just begun, it has already turned up a wealth of infor-mation about the social roots of the human mind—and, in science, that’s a happy ending. MPeople accept ideas more readily when their minds are in story mode as opposed to an analytical mind-set. merlot sales plummeted after paul Giamatti’s character snubbed the red wine in the movie Sideways.(Further Reading)u Why Fiction May Be Twice as True as Fact: Fiction as Cogni-tive and Emotional Simulation. Keith Oatley in Review of Gen-eral Psychology, Vol. 3, no. 2, pages 101–117; June 1999.u The Mind and Its Stories: Narrative Universals and Human Emotion. patrick colm Hogan. cambridge University press, 2003.u Transportation into Narrative Worlds: The Role of Prior Knowledge and Perceived Realism. melanie c. Green in dis-course Processes, Vol. 38, no. 2, pages 247–266; 2004.u The Literary Animal: Evolution and the Nature of Narrative. edited by Jonathan Gottschall and david sloan Wilson. north-western University press, 2005.u Detecting Agency from the Biological Motion of Veridical vs Animated Agents. r. a. mar, W. m. Kelley, t. f. Heatherton and c. n. macrae in Social Cognitive and Affective neurosci-ence, Vol. 2, no. 3, pages 199–205; september 2007.

*For more on eBay and irrationality, see “Is Greed Good?” by Christoph Uhlhaas; Scientific Ameri-can Mind, August/September 2007.] Offer a really low price for opening bids, a price everyone knows will not be the ἀnal selling price, and you nonetheless lure some consumers into making an ini-tial bid. That increases the number of people bidding on the product, which makes it look more attractive, thereby generating even more bids. And then bidders, who knew the price would rise from their initial bids, get emotionally attached to the product and keep raising their offers. Now you know why it makes sense to tell people that bids for that Picasso hanging in your living room can start at $5!

Relative vs absolute stats

The probability that a woman has breast cancer (prevalence) is 1 percent.■ If a woman has breast cancer, the probability that she tests positive (sensitivity) is 90 percent.■ If a woman does not have breast cancer, the probability that she nonetheless tests positive (false-positive rate) is 9 percent.What is the best answer to the patient’s query?A. The probability that she has breast cancer is about 81 percent.B. Out of 10 women with a positive mammogram, about nine have breast cancer.C. Out of 10 women with a positive mammogram, about one has breast cancer.D. The probability that she has breast cancer is about 1 percent.Gynecologists could derive the answer from the statistics above, or they could simply recall what they should have known anyhow. In either case, the best answer is C; only about one out of every 10 women who test positive in screening actually has breast cancer. The other nine are falsely alarmed. Prior to training, most (60 percent) of the gynecolo-gists answered 90 percent or 81 percent, thus gross-ly overestimating the probability of cancer. Only 21 percent of physicians picked the best answer—one out of 10.

Ten out of every 1,000 women have breast cancer.■ Of these 10 women with breast cancer, nine test positive. ■ Of the 990 women without cancer, about 89 nonetheless test positive. Thus, 98 women test positive, but only nine of those actually have the disease.

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