Human Brains are Better at Averages than Sums

Cognitive Ease – Embrace the power of the Human Mind

Did you know that your brain is actually much better at computing averages than totals? It might come as a surprise, but I can prove it in just 2 seconds. Consider the effort required to identify the relative average length of the lines below and compare that to the effort needed to calculate the total length of the lines strung together.

Most people can find a very precise average in about 1 second. On the other hand, determining the length of all the lines stacked together requires more effort. I’m not suggesting that you can’t do it, but it simply takes more cognitive effort.

Now, you might wonder why anyone would care about this. Well, Marquis Data is in the business of decision-making, and our focus is on providing tools that help people make better decisions, faster. It’s our mission. We believe that understanding how humans interpret data and make judgments based on what they see is crucial in building effective decision-making tools.

By harnessing the power of the human mind, we can design data solutions that align better with the desired outcome. Not all dashboards are created equally, so it’s important not to be fooled by shiny objects and fancy designs. The ultimate goal is to enhance understanding, as without understanding, decisions are made solely based on intuition and bias alone.  Pick your partners wisely.

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