At first glance, the riddle seemed simple. However, the woman with the highest IQ in the world took into account variables that others did not.
Since her childhood, the American Marilyn vos Savant has stood out for her exceptional abilities in areas such as Sciences and the mathematics .
He was only 10 years old when he took the IQ tests. of Stanford-Binet and Hoeflin’s Mega.
And during this last test, I got a score of 228 more than double the average.
This step later influenced the book of Guinness World Records considered her from 1985 to 1989 to be the woman with the highest IQ on record, a feat that earned her the nickname “the smartest person in the world.” .
Although his abilities in the aforementioned areas have been more than known since his childhood, She, who is now 77 years old, never wanted to confine herself to a single sphere .
During his adolescence He helped in his parents’ store and spent his free time reading. books and when he left school he chose to study philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis, his Missouri hometown.
However, he later gave up his career to focus on a family investment business, and by 1970 he had the income to self-finance. his long-awaited career as a writer .
SO, He began writing articles for the press and publishing his own books. both fiction and non-fiction.
At that time, his intellect was a factor of public interest, to the point that After moving to New York, she was a guest on talk shows such as David Letterman and Joe Franklin. .
The question of what intelligence was was recurrent in such cases.
“The intelligence would be your overall ability to benefit from the experience (…) IQ could, at most, measure your ability to use this intelligence,” he suggested to this latest television presenter.
At this time also created a column called “Ask Marilyn,” which was distributed in the magazine Stop doing which was included in several newspapers national.
And it is in this publication that In 1989, he answered a mathematical problem that seemed simple at first glance, but whose solution sparked controversy. among the specialists of the time.
The problem that Marilyn vos Savant answered
It consisted of the following elements: Imagine that you are participating in a television competition where you have the chance to win a new car. .
There you have to choose between three doors. Behind one of them are the vehicle keys. while behind the other two are angry goats.
To recover the car, you must select the entry where the keys are located . You only have one try.
NOW, Suppose you choose the middle door, because you have an intuition that it is the one. the one that will make you win.
However, After saying that it will be your choice, the host of the show tells you that he wants to help you and that he will tell you what is hidden behind a doors.
After opening it and finding a goat, You are left with only two options: one is the other animal and the other is the car keys. .
Would you continue to choose the door you said in the first minute or would you change it to the other one that is available?
Most people’s first analysis is that since you have two options left, you should have a 50% chance of choosing the right one. and 50% of you fail.
For its part, Marilyn vos Savant suggested that you would have almost a two-thirds (66%) chance of winning the car. .
This conundrum was previously known as the “Monty Hall Problem.” in reference to the American presenter who did similar competitions on his show Let’s make a deal.
She writes in her column: “Yes, you should change. The first door has a one in three chance of winning, but the second door has a two thirds chance. . It’s a good way to visualize what happened. Suppose there are a million doors and you choose door number 1. Then the host, who knows what’s behind the doors and will always avoid the one that wins the prize, opens them all except the door #777 777. You change the door quickly, don’t you?
Following this analysis, His personal email was filled with letters questioning his reasoning. . According to what was saved BBC , received nearly 10,000 while a tenth of this number came from mathematicians and experts in various fields.
The academic at George Mason University in Virginia, Robert Sachs went further and published an article in 1991 in the New York Times in which he refers to what was raised by Marilyn vos Savant.
“You ruined everything!” (…) As a professional mathematician, I am very concerned about the lack of mathematical skills among the general public. Please help me by confessing your mistake and, in the future, be more careful.
That This was just one of the responses to his column. which she constantly defended.
Even like this, Time has proven him right. And today, his answer is considered correct, provided that two conditions are met that the others had not taken into account. : that the TV presenter reveals what is hidden behind one of the doors that does not have the keys (as was the case in the scene described above) and that offers the possibility of changing the decision.
This is why the said case It is considered an example of what is called conditional probability. .
Added to this, as Marilyn vos Savant envisioned, is that the program doesn’t want you to win the prize. .
And although, Changing the doors does not guarantee that you will win the vehicle, it increases the chances For.
As a result, different universities have conducted experiments to check whether this happens. Indeed, results tended to occur as suggested .
Although not everyone who criticized her sent her new letters apologizing for what happened, Robert Sachs expressed his regrets .
“Now I am eating the cake of humility. I promised, as penance, to respond to everyone who wrote to reprimand me. It was a deep professional shame “.