How often do you wash the dishes?

This is a simple task that reveals a quirky blindspot.

It does require having a housemate (a partner, a roommate) who's willing to try it too. If you have one, get started!

Use the slider bars to answer the following questions:

At home, how often do you...

...wash the dishes?
  • 0%
    of the time
  • 50
  • 100%
    of the time
...sweep/vacuum the floor?
  • 0%
    of the time
  • 50
  • 100%
    of the time

...take out the garbage?
  • 0%
    of the time
  • 50
  • 100%
    of the time

Clean up after yourself and others?
  • 0%
    of the time
  • 50
  • 100%
    of the time

Overall: how much do you think you contribute to household chores?
  • 0%
    of the time
  • 50
  • 100%
    of the time
Would your housemate agree? Send them the task:

The science predicts your answers will add up to more than 100%. Why?

The availability bias. Each person remembers what they did better... so they think they contributed more. Psychologists initially tested this with married couples (you can imagine how many arguments this bias must have caused...). Luckily, there’s a simple way to outsmart it and avoid the Chore Wars.

Write things down. From chore charts and food diaries to office performance reviews, having the data in front of you can help you avoid this blindspot in life and at work.

Ross, M. & Sicoly, F. (1979). Egocentric biases in availability and attribution. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37(3), 322.

Outsmarting Human Minds is a project founded by Mahzarin Banaji, devoted to improving decision-making using insights from psychological science. "How often do you wash the dishes?" was created by Olivia Kang, Moshe Poliak, Kirsten Morehouse, Sanden Averett, and Mahzarin Banaji, based on research by Michael Ross and Fiore Sicoly (1979). Support for Outsmarting Human Minds comes from PwC, Harvard University, and the Association for Psychological Science.