Approximate the Sum

When adding 8,15,20,16,25,102,40,62,79,98 and 98,79,62,40,102,25,16,20,15,8, people tend to approximate the first set of numbers as lower and the second one as higher even though they are the same numbers but reversed. 

This is because you start with smaller numbers in the first set and your brain automatically assumes a lower sum will be put out while it will assume a larger sum if the set starts with larger numbers. 

You can present the same piece of information twice but it can be perceived differently if not presented the same.

EXERCISE — Approximate the Sum

Add these numbers up: 8,15,20,16,25,102,40,62,79,98

If you were able to add these up as they were said, good for you. If you couldn’t add these up as they were said, think of an approximate sum. 

Now add or approximate a sum for these numbers: 98,79,62,40,102,25,16,20,15,8 

In general, people tend to approximate a lower sum for the first set while a higher sum is approximated for the second test.