# A social experiment

If you have time, please do the following.

Think of a random integer.

If possible, please think of one now before reading the next lines.

.

.

If it is even, please comment 0.

If it is odd, please comment 1.

Note that 0 is even.

Thank you

Note by Jihoon Kang
3 years, 5 months ago

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2 \times 3 $$2 \times 3$$
2^{34} $$2^{34}$$
a_{i-1} $$a_{i-1}$$
\frac{2}{3} $$\frac{2}{3}$$
\sqrt{2} $$\sqrt{2}$$
\sum_{i=1}^3 $$\sum_{i=1}^3$$
\sin \theta $$\sin \theta$$
\boxed{123} $$\boxed{123}$$

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It's interesting how the vast majority are odd (19:7 ratio as of this moment, around 73% odd). This is statistically unusual considering that there is equal possibility for even and odd numbers to be made. I think I can explain this.

It is human nature to think that a number which is even is too rounded to be 'random', and since all even numbers are composite (trivial exception of 2), even numbers tend to be avoided.

Furthermore, chosing prime numbers is a popular trend when picking 'random' integers; we tend to think of numbers which are isolated. For example, prime numbers can be considered to be isolated, as it has no proper factors, hence there are no other numbers associated with it, as it were. Now, I understand prime numbers are not the most frequently generated 'random' numbers, but the fact that they are odd surely plays a part. This leads us to think odd numbers are more random than even numbers.

I guess this means that 'random' numbers generated by humans are not truly random.

Of course, this is only my speculation, based on my own experience. When I think of a random number, 37 comes to mind. I think the fact that both digits are odd, it's not too small or too big between 0 and 100, and it being prime leads me to believe it is the most random number. Ironically, if everyone thinks this way, it becomes one of the least random numbers.

- 3 years, 5 months ago

But there are people(like myself) who already have a predefined random number in mind. For example, if someone asks me to choose a number, I will always pick $$4$$. This is just to avoid time spent in thinking of a random number. I know that this is not random, and the number of people who think this way are small, but yeah. Your observations make sense though.

- 3 years, 5 months ago

Please see this note which is inspired by you.

- 3 years, 5 months ago

Hey your observation skill is awesome! @Jihoon Kang

- 3 years, 5 months ago

Thank you :)

- 3 years, 5 months ago

1

Postscript: I was going to say that the folks that picked $$0$$ like their coffee mocha, while those that picked $$1$$ just want their coffee black. But, you're right, I read somewhere that when asked to pick a random number, $$37$$ pops up much more frequently than expected, a fact that mind-trick magicians exploit. I picked $$137$$ because that's the integer part of the reciprocal of the Fine Structure Constant. Does picking a famous constant at random qualify? I'm going to check and see how many of them are odd.

- 3 years, 5 months ago

Haha :). I do not wish to get into the philosophy of the definition of 'random'. Although one short definition could include 'a choice without reason'. If an integer we chose truly was random, then there should have been absolutely no factors influencing our decision to chose it. Of course, that seems to be next to impossible.

- 3 years, 5 months ago

It is a fact that humans suck at being random, even though they think it should be easy. Give anybody a marker pen and a whiteboard, and tell him/her to mark dots on the board at random. After it's "done", just about anybody can tell it isn't really random.

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- 3 years, 5 months ago

0, I just randomly thought of 2

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