Our Obsession with full digits and how much do we suffer from it


I don’t know whether anyone has thought about it or not but at least I have not read or heard anyone talking about it; this thought has always been doing rounds inside me, and that is, our obsession with full digits. All of us have a tendency to jump to the nearest full digits at the slightest opportunity. But I don’t think anyone has ever estimated the loss do we humans suffer to due to our obsession with full digits.


Following are some examples which come to my mind instantly


Suppose a deal is going to be settled logically at 99.5 lakh, then there is all probability that they will settle it in100 lakhs. Now why on earth should one party bear a loss of 50 thousand?


An investment Guru is giving 10 best stocks to invest in.

Suppose there are only 9 stocks fulfilling the criteria of the investment Guru, but to make it 10, he might have included one stock not worth inclusion. Or may be he might have a total 12 stocks fulfilling his criteria, but he gave us only 10, in that case too, he has deprived us of some information due to obsession with full digits.


My teacher wanted to know how muchtime i would require to solve a problem

I thought 5 mins would be too less and 10 mins would be too much, but still I ended up saying either 5 or 10 mins, though what I wanted to say was “7 mins”. I was deprived of giving correct assessment of time required by me.


One has to start a new project conceived on Friday afternoon, and even with six working days in a week (ie Saturday working), it’s decided to start the job from the coming Monday. Who is now responsible for this time loss?


The reasons for this obsession is psychological for sure, and I don’t want to go into further details of it. Here I have raised a question, the question is not that why are we obsessed with full digits, but, why do we suffer losses for this and why no one has not yet estimated the extent of it.




4 Responses to “Our Obsession with full digits and how much do we suffer from it”

  1. Vinod Sharma Says:

    Good observations… yes that is what we do. May be that is why when fixing prices, it is the ‘Bata’ syndrome 99.95…perhaps our minds respond to the ’90’ even though we actually wind up paying 100!

  2. vivekmittal Says:

    Thanks Vinod
    i was on a break from blogging, and wondered whether anyone will read it when i posted after almost two months 🙂

  3. Vivek Khadpekar Says:

    I have a feeling that this obsession with full digits has to do with decimalisation and its accompanying tendency of rounding off. A few visitors to this blog may old enough to recall (or if not old enough, to have heard of) the kind of systems of weights and measures and currency that we had in India before we went metric in 1956. The rupee was divided into 16 annas, the anna into four paise (and before that into 12 pies). In weights we had a maund made up of 40 seers, and each seer was divided into 16 chhataks.

    What is perhaps less remembered is that even our traditional system of multiplication tables corresponded to these complex systems of weights and measures and currency. My parents (born in the 2nd/3rd decade of the 20th century) had to learn multiplication tables of 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1-1/4, 1-1/2, 2-1/2 and 3-1/2, besides the regular tables that children are still taught. This, they tell me, helped with quick mental calculations during shopping. If something was sold at x rupees a maund then it would be x annas for 2-1/2 seers, or one-fifth as many annas for a seer.

    This bit of historical oddity could be the background to the felicity with mental arithmetic that still gives Indians an edge in today’s world of computer technololgy.

  4. vivekmittal Says:

    Dear Mr Vivek

    Thanks a lot for your valuable comment..and i am honoured by your visit to this blog…

    Off late i’m not much into blogging hence not even been opening this blog…hence replied late.Thanks again

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