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Apr 23

Watching statistics in action

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I got to watch the wisdom of crowds in action this weekend.

A good friend is getting married this summer, and had the fun idea to get friends together for a wine testing. The aim was to choose the wine for the wedding.

By having the party, people could bring their favourites, a good time could be had, and a solid wine would be served at the wedding itself.

Before the tasting began, everyone had a score sheet, and were asked to rate the wine (1 – 5) and give thoughts on it (spry, smokey, acidic, to name a few that came up).

Surprise, surprise. As the night went on, people ranked them better. My hypothesis throughout was that we may be able to weed out the truly poor wines, but that this is pretty random. If you tasted a wine that had a bad aftertaste, it would affect the next wine (people weren’t even attempting to cleanse the palette).

The a-ha moment was when the same wine was sneaked in twice (all of the wines were hidden, and numbers associated with them).

People gave the same win VERY different scores, and wrote very different thoughts about them.

Well, at least we met the “have a good time” aim of the night.

5 Responses to “Watching statistics in action”

  1. Paul Brown Says:

    I think that you’d really enjoy reading Freakonomics.

  2. evan Says:

    ‘…and [Jesus] said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.”‘ John 2:10

    This is a very old phenomenon!

  3. Tiago Silveira Says:

    Did you compare the average scores?

    The idea is that all errors cancel themselves out. So probably the influences of the previous wines in each participant should cancel each other out too.

  4. replicahandbags Says:

    keep watching…

  5. replica handbags Says:

    thanks for sharing.

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