To continue my thinking about getting math problems wrong for cognitive science reasons, I want to discuss priming.
Derren Brown is a mentalist (that is, a “psychic” who admits up front he is doing nothing more mystical than applied psychology) who is particularly good at priming. In this video he asks a teacher to read a story and think of an image; the story influences a teacher into thinking of a teddy bear through subtle cues.
For example, the title of the story is “Near” where the “N” is drawn to somewhat resemble a “B”, and placed next to an animal which resembles a bear.
Also, the story incldues the phrase “red beak to wear” where the “k” resembles a “r” if the top is removed, and the close proximity of the rhyming word “wear” also suggests a bear.
A group of children painted as they listened to the story, and came up with an image resembling a teddy bear simply through the priming in the story.
(Derren Brown has done this many times; try his Subliminal Advertising to see how far priming can go.)
Keeping the technique in mind, answer these two questions:
1.) What would happen if these two questions on a recent test of mine were reversed (that is, #4 was given as #5 and #5 was given as #4)?
2.) The following is a multiple choice question with the image removed. If a student were to ignore the math content of the answers (that is, guess), which would be the most common answer?
The conic section depicted can be categorized as: