About Me

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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Risk Quotient test

H/T Pharyngula. As PZ explains the test:

Here's an interesting test: measure your Risk Quotient. It's a 50 question survey of a set of questions, some simple and some obscure, in which you estimate your confidence in providing an answer. You aren't scored on just getting the right answer, but on whether you accurately assess your likelihood of being right — if you answer wrongly but with great confidence and certainly you'll score poorly, but if you answer just as wrongly but with a more cautious appraisal of your certainty, you'll score better.

I.e. someone with a high RQ will admit uncertainty, and can be generally be trusted to be correct when they feel certain or highly confident of something. Such a person is someone who will not bullshit you.

Assuming the test is valid, it's very interesting.


My result

Results and Explanation
Thank you for participating in our study!

The RQ score ranges from 0 (low RQ) to 100 (high RQ). Your RQ score is 85. Such a score is very high.

Risk intelligence can be measured by calculating something called a “calibration curve”. The graph that is displayed above, is your calibration curve

A perfect calibration curve would lie exactly on the diagonal line, so the area between the curve and the diagonal would be zero. Nobody is perfectly calibrated, but people with high risk intelligence come very close to this ideal. For more information about how to interpret your calibration curve, click here.


Daniel said...

I got a 92.

I like the idea of this test. In my work as an engineering consultant, conveying my degree of certainty about various things that I don't have perfect information for is something that I try consciously to improve upon.

This tests for the sort of qualities that should be held in higher regard than certainty.

Russell Blackford said...

Cool, Daniel.

I can't say I'm 100 per cent certain of the validity of this test ;)

But I certainly think it's aiming to test something that's important. Unfortunately, so many people don't want to know about inherent risks in assessments. When I was in legal practice, and before that doing quasi-legal work, I was sometimes criticised for doing what you describe, i.e. trying to convey my degree of confidence in a conclusion. A lot of clients just want to be told: "The law says you can X" or "The law says you can't do X". But in fields such as law any problem worth bringing to a supposed expert is almost bound to have murky aspects.

Scote said...

Doh, the site is Slashdotted! :-(

Lisa said...

I got 100...which I suspect demonstrates how much this test is worth, given my history of foolish and risky decisions like converting to Islam. Then again, once bitten, 10 times shy (in my case).

Anonymous said...

The test really doesn't seem to measure what it claims to measure (namely how good you are at estimating your own certainty). To score high you need to know that answers and know that you know them. If you don't know the answers and know that you don't them you score in the middle even though your estimation of your own abilities is as good as a knowledgeable, confident respondent.

To really measure ability at estimating the risk of being wrong it should be something like asking a battery of questions plus how confident and seeing how close to N% is the proportion of the questions you were N% confident of that you got right (for each N).

Deepak Shetty said...

Im not sure this test is valid (shows I scored a pretty low score , 62).People with good General Knowledge skills will do well which hasn't much to do with risk quotient. I guess the questions shouldn't really be true/false variety if you want to test risk quotient but more probabilistic (e.g. if you have a certain poker hand , how much would you bet and how often do you think you'd win)

Paul said...

If you want to win at the poll, answer one question you know for sure as 100% (say, the capital of Australia question) and assign the rest 50% certainty.

The problem is that it is not measuring whether you are good at assessing risk. It is simply measuring if you are good at assessing your own knowledge (or lack thereof), which while useful is not the same thing. And it's misleading to refer to that factor as a Risk Quotient. Perhaps a Self-Knowledge Quotient would be a more fitting label.

Russell Blackford said...

Paul is probably right (I'm 60 per cent confident of it).

J. J. Ramsey said...

FWIW, My RQ is 86. Not bad, but not great.

Ramases said...

Well they seemed a bit confused on some of the questions.

They kept on mentioning the Federal Government, but did not seem to get their facts right.

For example, one question was when the Federal Government started printing money. Eveyone knows this could not have happened before 1901 when the Australian states federated, but they said it happened some time in the early 19th Century!

So the accuracy of the survey has to be called into question.

Ophelia Benson said...

Huh - I really don't even get what the principle is supposed to be. I don't see what sense is makes to hook up the issue of confidence to answers to factual questions - I don't see what the factual part is measuring. I answered 3 or 4 and then stopped because it just didn't make sense to me. I have about 90% confidence that I don't see the point.

I did a lot of test taking in my yoof - I grew up in Princeton, NJ, home of ETS (Educational Testing Service); they used my school as a willing guinea pig source.

I don't see how they can measure how justifiably confident or tentative you're being when they have no idea how much you know about the questions. The two don't mesh. It makes no sense, I tell you!