Monty Hall Problem

The Monty Hall problem is a probability puzzle loosely based on the American television game show Let's Make a Deal and named after the show's original host, Monty Hall. The problem, also called the Monty Hall paradox, is a veridical paradox because the result appears impossible but is demonstrably true. The Monty Hall problem, in its usual interpretation, is mathematically equivalent to the earlier Three Prisoners problem, and both bear some similarity to the much older Bertrand's box paradox.

The problem was originally posed in a letter by Steve Selvin to the American Statistician in 1975 (Selvin 1975a) (Selvin 1975b). One well known statement of the problem was published in Marilyn vos Savant's "Ask Marilyn" column in Parade magazine in 1990 (vos Savant 1990a):

Suppose you're on a game show, and you're given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1, and the host, who knows what's behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, "Do you want to pick door No. 2?" Is it to your advantage to switch your choice?

Vos Savant's response was that the contestant should switch to the other door. If the car is initially equally likely to be behind each door, a player who picks door 1 and doesn't switch has a 1 in 3 chance of winning the car while a player who picks door 1 and does switch has a 2 in 3 chance, because the host has removed an incorrect option from the unchosen doors, so contestants who switch double their chances of winning the car.

Many readers refused to believe that switching is beneficial. After the Monty Hall problem appeared in Parade, approximately 10,000 readers, including nearly 1,000 with PhDs, wrote to the magazine claiming that vos Savant was wrong (Tierney 1991). Even when given explanations, simulations, and formal mathematical proofs, many people still do not accept that switching is the best strategy (vos Savant 1991a). Decision scientist Andrew Vazsonyi described how Paul Erdős, one of the most prolific mathematicians in history, remained unconvinced until Vazsonyi showed him a computer simulation confirming the predicted result (Vazsonyi 1999).

The Monty Hall problem has attracted academic interest because the result is surprising and the problem is simple to formulate. Furthermore, variations of the Monty Hall problem are made by changing the implied assumptions, and the variations can have drastically different consequences. For example, if Monty only offered the contestant a chance to switch when the contestant had initially chosen the car, then the contestant should never switch. Variations of the Monty Hall problem are given below.

Read more about Monty Hall Problem:  The Problem, Vos Savant and The Media Furor, Sources of Confusion, Criticism of The Simple Solutions, Strategic Solution By Dominance, Simulation, Variants, History

Other articles related to "monty hall problem, problem, monty, monty hall":

Monty Hall Problem - History
... The earliest of several probability puzzles related to the Monty Hall problem is Bertrand's box paradox, posed by Joseph Bertrand in 1889 in his Calcul des probabilités (Barbeau ... As in the Monty Hall problem the intuitive answer is 1/2, but the probability is actually 2/3 ... The Three Prisoners problem, published in Martin Gardner's Mathematical Games column in Scientific American in 1959 (1959a, 1959b), is equivalent to the Monty ...
Let's Make A Deal - The Monty Hall Problem
... The Monty Hall Problem, also called the Monty Hall paradox, is a veridical paradox because the result appears impossible but is demonstrably true ... The Monty Hall problem, in its usual interpretation, is mathematically equivalent to the earlier Three Prisoners problem, and both bear some similarity to the much older ... The problem examines the counter-intuitive effect of switching one's choice of doors, one of which hides a "prize." The problem has been analyzed many times, in books, articles and online ...

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