Can you predict how other people will behave?


It’s time for a little experiment.

Tomorrow I will simply ask people to choose one of three colours – RED, BLUE or GREEN.  Today I would like everyone to try to predict exactly what percentage of people will choose BLUE.

Please enter your guess as a comment (to 2 decimal places), and I will send a signed copy of one of my books to the person who is closest.


547 comments on “Can you predict how other people will behave?

  1. significance says:


  2. dcmonk79 says:


  3. Robert says:


  4. Sari1967 says:

    I predict 39.66% will pick blue

  5. gatehouse13 says:


  6. Rob Stannard says:

    Predict 45.87% choose BLUE

  7. pokeybun says:


  8. KarenN says:

    I think it will be 89.1%

  9. edwardv says:


  10. Rob Minson says:


  11. @aarondietmar says:


  12. Philip Allcott says:

    39.33 on blue. I really don’t have any strategy…

  13. Andrew M says:


  14. sachin says:

    Its gonna be 5.2%

  15. kate says:

    56% 🙂

  16. nanda gunawardhana says:


  17. Roland says:

    Chances are 100% that not everyone of the 7 billion people will try to predict this 🙂

  18. Suzanne Escobar says:


  19. Js Op de Beeck says:

    78, 2 %

  20. sachinM says:

    Its gonna be 5.2%….or less

  21. Lucy george says:


  22. Tommy Bell says:


  23. Andrew Wragg says:


  24. Dammika says:


  25. Sue nelson says:


  26. Keith Taylor says:


  27. Nigel Alexander says:

    45.65% Blue is a popular favourite colour.

  28. Navneeth says:

    I know what’s happening here: you’re actually conducting an experiment to find out the relative percentages of percentages people will blurt out when asked about what percentage of people will opt for the colour blue in a hypothetical experiement (which fact you don’t reveal to us). HA! Did I catch you there?


  29. Robert D says:


  30. Sudhindra says:


  31. spamsac says:


  32. Peter Westwood says:

    74 percent.

  33. Lexicon says:


  34. Flavia Cardalda says:

    I think that the majority will choose blue, I will go with 98.57%

  35. Flavia Cardalda says:


  36. Jakob says:

    59,11 %

  37. Jacky Pankhurst says:


  38. Jeroen says:


  39. Richard Wilkins says:

    32.00 %

  40. Brayden says:


  41. Lee says:

    89.50% will choose blue

  42. Shirin shah says:


  43. Shirin shah says:


  44. Benyamin says:


  45. Paul Durrant says:


  46. Mattias Nyström says:


  47. Blo0dy says:

    I think the question itself will affect peoples choices so I go for 46.75%.

  48. Christopher Stead says:


  49. KAY ROLPH says:

    RED 33.33

  50. Vam says:


    Reason being, I think the fact that you mentioned the color blue today, more people are going to shy away from it. I’d guess Red would be at like 50-60% as well.

  51. Jenifer says:


  52. Stefano says:


  53. Puddleglum says:


  54. Steven Pape says:


  55. Berber Anna says:

    Normally, I’d say around half, as few people will vote green I think (as it’s not a primary colour). But now that you’ve made it a contest, that influences the equation — either people will vote for it more, or they’ll shy away from it (to influence their own chances of winning). There seem to be lots of guesses hovering around 20%, although those around 70% might compensate for that a bit by upvoting.

    So I’m going to go with something around 30… say, 32.84%.

    • Ken Haley says:

      Green is a primary color, when dealing with light. Check the colors of the pixels on your monitor with a strong magnifying glass.
      Primary colors of light: red, green, blue. (monitor pixels)
      Primary colors of pigments: cyan, yellow, magenta. (laser toner colors)

  56. boris pavlović says:

    which people are you going to ask?

    anyway, my guess is 44.57

  57. Alistair Frith says:


  58. Geoff the god of biscuits says:


  59. Percy Veerance says:


  60. Seb Dick says:


  61. Michael says:


  62. Philip says:


  63. Coxychap says:


  64. Bleach says:


  65. Hydrargyros says:


  66. LaineyLee says:

    I predict 72.56 but won’t the outcome be heavily influenced by the fact that you have forewarned everyone about the experiment? Just trying to be scientific….

    • Ken Haley says:

      That’s the point. How does the forewarning influence the outcome? I think it’s a great experiment. Of course, we don’t have a control group (unless Richard’s collecting that data elsewhere.)

  67. J Frank Anastasio says:

    Who is doing the picking and how is the choice being presented?

    Anyway, I’ll guess 57.42%

  68. Robin says:

    Interesting – I like the comments too from the guesses so far.

  69. Robin says:

    Whoops – forgot to add 46%

  70. Steve Tracey says:

    Mmm knowing the focus of the study are people more likely to go towards or away from it? I think 28.2%

  71. Chris says:

    It all depends on whether the people asked to choose know about this experiment or not. If they do, then I guess 20% will go for blue, otherwise 33%.

  72. Antonio says:


  73. For no reason at all, I predict 78.94% will go for blue. (The others will split as: red 19.23%, green 1.83%).

  74. Barry Snashall says:

    It should be 33,33% but now I predict it will be 12.50%

  75. andrew willoughby says:


  76. Stephen says:

    I am going to guess at 28.43%

  77. dirtyDavey says:


  78. Jerome says:


  79. Jerome says:

    Although indeed a lot of people might simply choose BLUE now to skew the result … wouldn’t it have been better to first let people vote (without us being able to see the results yet) and then only guess?

  80. Cherie. says:


  81. Miss T says:

    Hmmm I’m gonna go with 32.5%

  82. Wolf Martinus says:


  83. sarikha says:


  84. Joanna says:


  85. I think it depends on the order you’re saying it in. So my suggestion is O*33% (O = order which can either be 1, 2 or 3) which would result in 2*33%=66% for the order you’ve mentioned them in. So I’d say [66%]!

    Also it might depend on what colors you’re wearing and such things but that’s a different story. 😉

  86. MaciejK says:


  87. P Beven says:


  88. David L says:


  89. Willem Kokke says:


  90. M. Reffin says:


  91. alan h says:

    My guess is 38.90

  92. Tom Ruffles says:


  93. Danielle says:


  94. Rebecca says:


  95. Ben Rayot says:


  96. Ross Bagby says:

    60% if you ask in this order (I think most people will go for the middle in a series.)

  97. David Farrant says:


  98. Emma says:

    I’m sceptical. Is this a trick question? Are we going to be asked to vote tomorrow or was that a fib?! I think I heard somewhere that blue is most people’s favourite colour, so one would expect the vote to be high. But the fact that we’ve been told in advance, I think will make people shy away from blue. So I’d say 22.4%. I’m sure the fact we’ve been told about it in advance will affect the outcome.

  99. Ivan R. says:


  100. Barnaby Brampton says:


  101. Lazy T says:

    I’m intrigued.

  102. eveningperson says:


  103. Richard says:

    I think by doing this first, you’ve turned it into a choice between “choosing blue” and “not choosing blue”. So my guess would be for it to be around the 50% mark.

  104. vylyam says:


  105. Silvia says:


  106. Alex B. says:

    83,85 %

  107. Thijs says:

    I think it is going to be something like 41,66%.

  108. There are many influencing variables which could skew the results. Are people going to be asked face to face, or over the internet? If face to face, what colour shirt is the tester going to be wearing? What colour tie? What colour paper? Are participants who are wearing only certain-coloured tops going to be asked? Maybe the questions are going to be asked of those who are colour-blind, therefore when they say ‘green’ do they really mean ‘blue’? Other variables may include time of day, colour of light or room, hot or cold; but there are many others.


  109. Virgil says:


  110. pipergirl says:


  111. Adam humphrey says:


  112. Dan Hunter says:


  113. Dan Hunter says:


  114. Mark Ormandy says:

    Actually, I initially assumed that like me this would make people prefer to chose not-blue, however after a little thought I now suppose that because more people are picking higher figures it gives them more incentive to pick blue tomorrow, so I’ll change to:


  115. Peter Murphy says:


  116. Stephen says:


  117. martin says:

    24.37 %

  118. Bald_tuna says:


  119. Dennis Hayward says:


  120. Markus says:

    People guessing for more than 33.3% will select BLUE to support their own guessing. I counted that 87 of 126 did this. So my guess is 69.047619%.

  121. Chris says:

    28.38%, I will explain the reasoning if it gets close

  122. Edgar 2 says:


  123. Martin E. says:


  124. Roland B9 says:


  125. Roland B9 says:


  126. BaldySlaphead says:


  127. Matt Sydes says:


  128. Luis Miyar says:

    If you ask in that order then 69.85%

  129. Caroline says:


  130. Andy stephenson says:


  131. Anonymous says:


  132. It would be interesting to see what the percentage was if we hadn’t been told about the question before-hand! I have a feeling the fact that blue is a middle option a high percentage might choose it, even though technically they should have 33.3% each!

    Sorry for waffling, I guess 66.6%.

  133. Simon York says:


  134. Blue Sky7 says:

    This prediction itself might affect how many people will choose blue.
    I saw a number 37.5 on my mind, so I’ll pick that one. 🙂

  135. Brian says:


    Little more than a random guess as I believe Blue is a colour more people would go for. Will be supprised if it is less than 35%.

    awaiting the results.

    • Brian says:

      Actually is this experiment flawed, will the people being asked not be aware of this experiment and try and influence the outcome with their answer?

  136. Eugenia says:

    This must be some kind of an experiment it itself…

  137. jelhel says:


  138. @philstephens says:


  139. Wendy Turner says:

    27.36% will choose Blue

  140. 67.5%

    Lots of folks are guessing over 33%, which means in order to make that happen they’d have to pick blue. Now I could find the amount mathematicially, take the people who are guessing over 33% and make that my percentage or I can just find a number in the vicinity of my guess that isn’t taken and take that.

    by the way, use search people. There are lots of duplicates.

  141. Richard B says:


  142. Robert says:


  143. Mat Edawrds says:


  144. Moray says:

    73%. Looking forward to finding out what happens and why!

  145. saoili says:

    I went a very low estimate because I know a lot of people who prefer green or red to blue, and because I remember a similar experiment. In that one people were asked to name their favourite animal and predict what other people would say. People thought people would pick cats, but they didn’t really. Or something along those lines.

    But I wonder if all those people who guessed high numbers will come back tomorrow and say blue to increase their chances of getting a book? Hm.

    It’s a shame that you can’t also run the two blog posts in the other order (hiding the comments on the first one, obviously) and compare the results.

  146. FrankN.Stein says:


  147. Paul Creevey says:


  148. saoili says:

    If myself and Dave are both right (we picked the same number), do I get the book because I said it first, or do we both get one?

    What if two people are equally close having picked different numbers (I realise how unlikely that is, but still)?

  149. CH23 says:

    i think 46.1%

    It’s very difficult to predict this though, because the people who predict high will vote blue, and those who predict low will vote low, and then there’s 3 choices, and red is more appealing.

    With all this info it is still a very wild guess.

  150. Fatima Martin says:


  151. Prateek says:

    26.67 %

  152. Anonymous says:


  153. e_non says:

    it’s a question of how people answer today, and what they’ll do tomorrow when choosing a color, would they on purpose choose blue to increase the odds or one of the other to decrease.
    it’s way to complicated so I go with 46.3%

  154. John Speed says:


  155. Noc says:

    i’ll say about 47.47%

  156. Adien L. says:

    63.22, I guess.

  157. Ok let’s do this a bit more scientifically. All we really know is that everyone here is going to try to win by voting tomorrow. So I’ve worked out the average of all the guesses above…

    First a bit of jQuery:
    jQuery(‘.comment p’).map(function(){return (jQuery(this).text())})

    Then some Python:
    percent_regex = ‘(\d{1,2}(?:[.,]\d{1,5})?)%?’
    average([percent for comment in comments for percent in re.findall(percent_regex, comment)])

    Final answer:

  158. John Loony says:

    It’s hilarious to read the comments from a few people complaining that the result of the experiment will be contaminated or affected by the fact that we have been told in advance what’s going to be asked. That’s the whole point of the experiment, obviously.


  159. Darren says:


  160. Anonymosity says:


  161. peter kirchmeir says:


  162. Sylvia says:

    If you ask people on this blog: 37.28%.
    If you ask other people (e.g. a group of students): 48.22%.

    If you will do the second poll among today’s participants, then, unlike tomviner, I don’t think that you should calculate the average of the responses. Following the idea of CH23, you should rather calculate the percentage of people of who have guessed a number above 50% (assuming that only they will pick blue tomorrow). Strangely enough, this is about 1/3 in the 100 first votes…

    Richard, I hope that you have software to delve through all the responses, but it seems unlikely that you can automate it since some people have mentioned other percentages than their final guess.

    Also, it would be nice if you are actually testing something else, like which last digit is used most.

  163. Daniel Foster says:


  164. Alex Gibbons says:


  165. Jack Hammer says:


  166. Joe Murray says:


  167. baurri says:

    19.78% blue.
    37.84% red.
    42.38% green.

  168. Hilary says:

    89.43. I think this post will encourage more people to choose blue than ordinarily would.

  169. Blake A says:


  170. Camel Ali says:


  171. samusfairchild says:


  172. janfehlerJ says:


  173. Michael Gillard says:


  174. mschoppe says:


  175. Gert-Jan says:


  176. Nrestell says:


  177. Michelle says:


  178. Paul Harrison says:


  179. Adzcliff says:


  180. Matthias Kunz says:

    7.25% choose blue – because its presented between the two other colours and because of the strong effect of red 😉

  181. Matthias Paulsen says:


  182. SB says:

    I predict 100.00% of people will answer Blue.

    (I’m wondering how many people Richard will get to ask…)

  183. Anonymous says:


  184. rivet00 says:


  185. Nicola Price says:


  186. How reasonable can a guess be??


  187. andrea says:

    35.70 %

  188. jack says:

    Wisdom of crowds 🙂
    I have averaged all the comments above and got 43.02%
    However Everyone will have an agenda, since everyone will vote blue for their own percentage if high, and wouldn’t vote blue if low, I would expect a stronger skew of the results than just that of the averaging.
    Also there will be a proportion of people who will vote tomorrow having not guessed a percentage today. Of these I would expect more to choose blue than the other colours* so this will increase the percentage that choose blue even further.
    My guess will be

    * (though as other have said the order and format the colours are presented will affect this)

  189. mk de manvan says:


  190. Adam Matthews says:


  191. Anonymous says:


  192. Chris says:


    Sorry, missed off my name.

  193. Joe Kisenwether says:

    My guess is 44.17%
    So far mean= 43.38%, median = 42%.
    But my guess is based on the value x% above which x% of the guesses lie. Those who guessed above X are have an incentive to pick blue, those below it have an incentive to not pick blue. If everyone picks the way their incentives tell them, we should arrive at the value x as the answer. x=43.31%
    Unfortunately, somebody already guessed this. and the I want my guess to slide into a relatively large gap between other guesses. The closest decently sized gap was at 44.17%
    Perhaps I overthink things…

  194. Peter McKay says:


  195. Anonymous says:


  196. Gail Hatton says:


  197. Olie Hanson says:


  198. Mary says:

    My guess is 69.7%.

  199. SpecialQue says:

    There’s not going to be a winner. You have already skewed the results by asking someone to predict a specific color, and therefore have caused people to either pick that color more in order to raise the percentage (if they think it’s a high percentage) or choose another color in order to push the percentage lower (if they think it’s going to be a low percentage) There is no point in placing a guess.

  200. Daniel Evans says:


  201. David M says:


  202. Just Mike says:

    Is this too obvious?

  203. Alexandra K says:


  204. Anonymous says:


  205. Elliott Hodges says:


  206. Daniel says:


  207. Falconicity says:


    the whole point of the Wisdom of crowds is that the extremes cancel each other out. No reason to think the same won’t be true tomorrow. Those who picked high will vote blue, those who picked low won’t and those who picked in the middle might or might not pick blue. Really interested to see how this one turns out!!

  208. Martyna says:


  209. Andy Davis says:


  210. Bryn Morris says:


  211. Jero (@jerogp) says:


  212. William Weyer says:

    I predict that 63% of the respondents will choose blue. I am guessing that the majority of the readers of this blog are male and that blue is the preference of males.

  213. Maria (@mariahgp) says:


  214. Sergio Cristin says:


  215. Nerina Cristin says:


  216. Santiago says:


  217. Laurie T. says:


  218. deepfield says:


  219. Pandiarajan says:


  220. The other Matt says:


  221. Simon H says:


  222. Dave C. says:


  223. William Weyer says:

    I think I should of waited until the end of the night to make my prediction so I could averge up all the guesses and then I would have a fairly accurate prediction, especially if they’re the same people answering the question tomorrow.

  224. wait… without going over? I change my bid to .001%.

  225. Daniel Nairn says:


  226. Flakko says:


  227. wk.z says:

    Hmmm… it’s fun actually. Originally, I would’ve expected blue to get a little above average – say 40%, leaving Green for the second place with 35% and Red with humbling 25%. But that’s just pure guess work.

    However, at this point this survey is conducted. Now the people who will choose between those colors are divided – those who posted a comment (thus have a vested interest to make their prediction correct) and those who haven’t made a comment and probably haven’t seen this post at all (no interest whatsoever).
    For the first group the choice now is not between three colors, but actually between two – blue and whichever other one. At this point I have two things to say.
    1. I do not know how much people visit this site to compare first group to the second. It is possible to look through comments and make some fancy math, yet it would be entirely pointless.
    2. I would love to see correlation for the first group between the person’s prediction and actual vote.

    All things considered, I’d say that this ends up being way to complex. My guess is 33.33%, apply standard deviation if necessary.

  228. Anonymous says:

    54.97% will like blue

  229. Artisticanne says:


  230. 34.44%

    “Predict” that means read the current value right?

  231. Carrie says:


  232. Attila Miklosi says:


  233. Arunprasad A says:


  234. Kharamatha says:

    If enough people enter a pact they could all be closest, unless a dissenter guesses the size of the pact better than the pact-makers. Though that better guess would have to fit in no more than two decimal places. A difference in the third place wouldn’t matter.

  235. jennie says:

    Mmmm ….. 39.33%?

  236. Felipe says:

    11.10 %

  237. Reina999 says:

    I’m going for 100 %

  238. Bill says:

    one dollar! – is it like the price is right- closest without going over?
    how about 38.6%

  239. John Read says:


  240. AMWhy says:

    I’m going with 11.19%

  241. Dean Jones says:


  242. Mark Ashton says:


  243. Catherine says:

    It’ll be 49 percent, trust me. Everybody loves blue. I voted for green but I like all of them. Who doesn’t like colors? I feel sorry for the color-blind. And by the way, who spells “color” with a “u”–oh, that’s right you people over the pond.

  244. Hanna says:

    Maybe this is too late, but I think 13 percent will say blue.

  245. money says:


    […]Can you predict how other people will behave? « Richard Wiseman[…]…

  246. braiden says:

    something with a 3 and a 5 but i could be wrong

  247. Benjamin says:


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