|Daniel Kahneman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Your mind has two sides, an "intuitive system", where you can make snap judgments, and a "reflective system", where the pros and cons are carefully evaluated using computations, logic, and such. If you are presented with a complex problem, and you are required to give an answer quickly, you can be induced into using the intuitive system that knows the answer to something very SIMILAR, and gave the wrong answer. That's attribute substitution.
(Daniel Kahneman is considered to be the first to explore attribute substitution)
Here's a quick example. "A ball and a bat together cost $1.10. Bat cost $1 more than the ball. How much is the ball?" You have 3 seconds.
Time's up! What is your answer?
If you answered $0.10 (10 cents), you are wrong!
In this case, the mind need to answer the question, and there's 'no time' to do a full evaluation where you need to solve the algebraic equation with 2 unknowns with the reflective side. Instead, you know you can do 1.10 - 1 in a snap and your mind unconsciously did teh attribute substitution, and substituted $0.10, which came from the INTUITIVE side.
Those with a bit skepticism (i.e. reflective side) would have checked whether 0.1 is the right answer, and realized it's NOT. The answer: x+y=1.1 and x-1=y. y turned out to be $0.05 (and x=$1.05).
So what does this have to do with a scam? Everything.