Friday, 3 October 2008

All advertisers are fuckwits

Reading this thread on the badscience forums I was introduced to the concept of 'Diagonal Thinking'. Apparently:

"At the ‘Creative Britain in Golden Square’ event held this week, Culture Secretary Andy Burnham launched a new, free online self-assessment tool that identifies if you have what it takes to succeed in the ad industry. This unique psychometric test, developed on behalf of the IPA by consultancy AgencyPeople, will tell you if you have ‘Diagonal Thinking’ ability. It is designed as a recruitment tool to encourage applicants from all backgrounds to consider a career in advertising. "
Here's the Diagonal Thinking Test:

"The Diagonal Thinking Self-assessment is an online tool, designed to aid recruitment into the advertising and communication industries. It tests the hypothesis that the most successful individuals working in the business are both Linear and Lateral Thinkers – they think ‘diagonally’. "
I started to have a go, and was presented with the linear thinking test:

"This part of the test assesses your ability to decide whether a conclusion logically follows from a statement or not. For example, in stating:

"Some chefs work very long hours. All people who work very long hours eventually suffer from stress."

you could logically conclude that some chefs will eventually suffer from stress. For the purpose of this test, you must consider all statements presented to you to be true. For each conclusion given, you must decide whether it logically follows from the statement. If so, click on the 'Yes' button. If you decide that the conclusion does not follow from the statement, click the 'No' button. If you believe the statement gives insufficient information to make a decision about a conclusion, click on the 'Don't know' button. Try not to let your general knowledge or opinions affect your judgements. Just stick to the given statement of facts when making your decision."

Here is a screenshot of one of the example questions (I didn't get as far as the actual test):

And here's another one:

It isn't entirely clear how we know that 'some scientists have very high levels of intellect' and 'all people with very high levels of intellect lack interpersonal skills' gives 'insufficient information to make a decision about a conclusion' over whether 'Some non-scientists are highly intellectual' yet we also know that 'all physicists have good interpersonal skills' 'does not follow from the statement'. One might be inclined to think that people in advertising know fuck all about logic and linear thinking, they certainly appear unable to figure out that despite physicists being a subset of scientists we can't tell whether any of them have high levels of intellect (and thus lack interpersonal skills) from these statements. Diagonal thinking my arse, smug self-congratulating tosspots more like.