Cup Game Experiment Results

Results

An interesting result from my point of view is that it is quite easy to trick people, even in a situation where they know that they are likely to be tricked. I applied techniques from magic books in the design of this (particularly from some really interesting stuff from the 1890s about the psychology of magic), and it appears that these magicians really know what they’re doing! One person did catch me doing my little bit of sleight of hand, but the other 16 the trick worked on just fine.

When people were asked to trick the computer, most people had no idea at all what to do. People with programming knowledge had a slight advantage here, but even so, it was significantly harder than I was expecting for people to trick the computer when they don’t know how it works.

The other thing of note, is that people really do trust the computer. Several people changed from being absolutely certain as to which cup the bead was under, to being convinced they were wrong the moment they saw the computer guessing a different cup. This is despite the evidence of their eyes making them convinced they had the right cup originally.