The Monty Hall Problem
The purpose of this lab is to use an experiment to help answer a question.
The lab centers on the
Monty Hall problem, which is actually an old problem in a new guise.
The problem appeared a few years
ago in the "Ask Marilyn" column of
, a column by Marilyn vos Savant, who claims to
have the "world's highest IQ."
The solution given to the problem generated considerable controversy, and
vos Savant noted that she received thousands of letters, some from Ph.D.'s in mathematics, insisting that
she was wrong.
The problem has since received attention in articles in several newspapers, magazines
The problem is basically a scenario from the game show,
Let's Make a Deal
, which was hosted by
Participants on the show were offered a prize behind one of three curtains.
Behind one of
the curtains was a valuable prize and behind the other two were junk prizes.
The contestants chose one
curtain; before it was opened, Monty Hall would open another curtain that was hiding a junk prize.
would then give the contestant the opportunity to change their pick.
The question is, "Are you better off
staying, switching, or doesn't it matter?"
What do you think?
Should the contestant stay, switch, or
doesn't it matter?
Rather than simply being told the solution to the problem, which many people refuse to believe
anyway, we will perform a simple "experiment" with cards, as was suggested by vos Savant in her
In one condition, we will simulate staying, that is, not changing the curtain picked.
In the other
condition, we will simulate switching, that is, changing the curtain picked; thus, the Monty Hall problem.
The next step is to design the experiment.