Here are the results of the observation vs. interpretation game I had some of the scientists participate in. I pulled one person aside and asked them to describe (and write down) an object that I gave them. Then I gave this written description to someone else and had them guess what the object was. It was pretty fun to watch everyone overanalyze every word and sentence, and how often the guesser would read the description back to me and say things like, “…well that is totally misleading…” and “ok, if I just look at this first sentence…it could be this. But, then I look at the next line and I get totally confused…”
It was an interesting exercise and I think, whether they wanted to admit it or not, it got them to think about how we describe things and how clear or unclear a few words can be. The most interesting parts for me was when a player would turn their sheet back in, very confident that they are accurately described an object so clearly that another person would get it in a matter of seconds. And then I would give that description to someone else…and the other person never successfully answered.
So, now it’s your turn. Can you guess what these objects are based on the descriptions?
This one was written by Katin Faak. It reads: “It’s very thin (~ less than 0.1 mm) in one dimension, but can have variable length in the other 2 dimensions. The color is silver and it’s in general shiny, but more shiny from one side than from the other side. It’s easily deformed, therefore it often has a wrinkled appearance. It also has low density, so it is light.”
This one was written by Georges C. and reads: “It has roughly the shape of a half sphere. The average diameter of this object is typically ~ 30 cm. It is made of smooth but very resistant material. The inside part of the ‘half spehere’ contains ribbons in plastic and tissue where lenght can be adjusted.”
Here are the sheets, with answers: