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This would make Jean Piaget very happy:

CenturyLink Arena in Boise, also home to the Idaho Stampede of the NBA’s D-League, is facing a potential class-action lawsuit from four fans, alleging that the arena management company defrauded fans by offering taller-but-thinner large-size cups that hold the same 16 ounces as the shorter, wider small. “While different shapes, both cup sizes hold substantially the same amount of liquid and are not large versus small in actual capacity,” the group’s attorney, Wyatt Johnson, wrote in the lawsuit. . . .


  1. Radford Neal says:

    Actually, I’d think it would make Piaget very unhappy. It’s evidence that, contrary to his view, there isn’t any qualitative difference in thinking between young children and adults. Adults just know more particular facts, and particular rules. I recall reading (many years ago) a paper that showed this for another common example of “things kids get wrong”, regarding the angle of the upper surface of water in a tilted versus upright container. It turns out that many adults get that one wrong too.

    • Andrew says:


      I’ll leave it to the developmental psychologists to resolve this, but my impression was that Piaget recognized that “conservation of volume” and other such topics were difficult in general, so that even after people are old enough to understand the principle, they can still be misled by the intuition. I think of it as a Gigerenzer-type thing: the framing of the problem is important. Recall that in the original Piaget experiments, the kid would actually see the liquid being poured back and forth and still think there was more when it was in the narrow container. In this case with the adult sports fans, they fully understand conservation of volume when they see the beer being poured from one container to the other, but without seeing the comparison they are misled by the shape of the container. This seems consistent with the Piaget view of the world.

  2. nony says:

    Just more proof that girl’s irrationally prefer tall and thin to short and fat! :(

  3. Anonymous says:

    What is up at the Monkey Cage. Its all Russia and Ukraine. Not a pip about Venezuela.

    Have all Latin Americanists gone AWOL? talk about a blind spot.

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