Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The new Clever Hans!

When teaching skeptical thinking, who needs the stuffy old image of Clever Hans when this modern-day arithmetic solving pup will do? The math questions begin about 1:30 into this. (via


Anonymous said...

This is definitely an interesting video and as you say, I nice update of the "Clever Hans" story. Unfortunatly the video doesn't show us the trainer's face or body when the dog gets to the very last digit in the answer. That would have been good to see, so that we could detect what the signal is that she's giving to the dog.

This could be a great class discussion starter. You could challenge students to come up with ways to figure out if indeed the dog was getting clues from the trainer. As I recall, the way they "outed" Clever Hans was to not only take his trainer out of the room with the horse, but to also ask a question that no one in the room knew the answer to. Am I correct on that?


Steve said...

That's my understanding as well, Michael. In browsing around for my information today I ran across Oskar Pfungst's book (translated from the German) which goes into great detail about Clever Hans and the debunking that he did. The best part is that the book is readable online here: