# The Importance of Accepting New Information

## The strength of our decision-making heavily relies on our willingness to accept new information.

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There is this problem in statistics called the Monty Hall Problem. The problem goes as follows: You are given 3 doors and told there is a prize behind one of them. You choose a door. Then, one of the doors you did not choose will open showing there is no prize there. Then, you are asked whether you would like to stick with your door or switch to the other door that has not been opened. The question this problem poses is: Can we prove that one door is mathematically better than the other?

At first glance, it seems like each door must have an equal chance of containing the prize and most people proceed as if this is the case. The math, however, says there is an answer to this problem. It says there is a 33% chance that you originally selected the right door. Meanwhile, there is a 67% chance the prize is behind the other unopened door (for more information on the problem: Monty Hall Problem).

The Monty Hall Problem is an interesting example of how new information can affect our lives in ways we are not aware of. New information and technology enter our lives all the time, but we have to show some awareness to use it correctly. Sometimes, like with the Monty Hall Problem, we even have to challenge our instincts.

Most people correctly realize that you have a 33% chance of choosing the correct door to begin with. Where they go wrong is they miss the importance of the host eliminating a wrong door. In this situation, it is mainly our mathematical skills that are failing us, but sometimes our pride gets in the way too.

The Monty Hall Problem goes against many of the things we have been told as children. You have likely heard at some point in your life to trust yourself or trust your gut. While this may be beneficial advice most of the time, the Monty Hall Problem actually shows that people sticking with their original door are making a poor decision. A lot of people make this mistake before being informed of the Problem’s conclusion. A 1995 study of 228 participants found that only 12% of participants switched when first shown the problem (Granberg & Brown).

Perhaps even more interesting (or concerning) is that some people still did not switch after they were told about the problem.

Why do these people not switch to the other door?

One of the main reasons seems to be that it is more frustrating to switch and be wrong. It hurts more to know you were on the right track and then veered off course than it does to know you were never right at all. We would rather lose on our own terms. This functioning of pride convinces us we are better off without following the statistical probabilities. We put ourselves in a losing situation for the tiniest bit of possible security. In most cases, it ends up being more destructive than good.

# Conclusion

If the Monty Hall Problem holds any carryover in our day-to-day lives, there are some important lessons we could take away from it.

Firstly, many of us make bad decisions simply because we do not have all the information. Most people fail the Monty Hall Problem because they are simply unaware that the probability changes after the door is opened. In these scenarios, we have to challenge our instincts and see if we missed something, like the importance of the host opening an incorrect door.

Secondly, and maybe more importantly, we occasionally know the correct information and dismiss it anyway. We live in such an information-filled world that we all have to dismiss some information. The Monty Hall Problem reminds us to pay attention to the information we dismiss and why we dismiss it. Is it pride, anger, or conflict with other beliefs we hold? We do not want to continue holding on to our original door when we could double our chance of winning.

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