Articles Brain Education Mathematics Science

People Add By Default Even When Subtraction Makes More Sense by Sujata Gupta

This tendency to think more is better could underlie modern-day excesses, experts say. He and his colleagues first observed the behavior when they asked 1,585 study participants to tackle eight puzzles and problems that could be solved by adding or removing some things. For example, one puzzle required shading or erasing squares on a grid to make a pattern symmetric. In another, individuals could add or subtract items on a travel itinerary for the optimal experience. Across all experiments, the vast majority of participants chose addition over subtraction. For instance, out of 94 participants who completed the grid task, 73 added squares, 18 subtracted squares and another three simply reworked the original number of squares.

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