Jack is looking at Anne. Anne is looking at George. Jack is married, but George is not. Is a married person looking at an unmarried person?
C) Cannot be determined.
If you chose C, you’re part of the majority! More than 80% of people answer this with C, says Hector Levesque (University of Toronto) – provoking psychologists and doctors to conclude that the human race is, indeed, getting stupider.
The correct answer is A. Here’s why: Anne’s relationship status is the only one not listed in the above riddle, but there are only two possibilities: married or unmarried. If Anne is married, the answer is A – Anne is the married person looking at George, the unmarried person. If Anne is unmarried, the answer is still A – Jack is the married person looking at Anne, the unmarried person.
To solve the riddle, one must activate a skill lost to today’s world of instant gratification, obsession with speed, and tendency towards the path of least resistance – critical thinking. With inclusive reasoning, all possibilities are considered and the correct answer is deduced. It’s a simple enough process, so why aren’t we using it?
The creative brain is deteriorating at a rate alarming to anthropologist John Hawks (University of Wisconsin), whose studies have led him to the discovery that over the last twenty thousand years, our brains have shrunk one hundred and fifty cubic centimeters – that’s a lump of neurons about the size of a tennis ball, completely vanished. Why? Research shows that the decrease in our brain mass is directly proportional to the increase in population – in other words, our developing civilization is so cushioned, so utterly undemanding, that we no longer have to cultivate our IQs just to stay alive.
Too many of today’s students lack initiative, have little respect for learning, and are coddled to a harmful extent. They can access information with a single click, and dismiss it from their minds just as easily. They are not required to think creatively, but rather simply charged with memorization tasks.
So own the bell curve and exercise your creative brain today. Do something the hard way. Resist the alluring speed of Google and find your answer in a book. Neglect the funnies for a crossword. Save money on gas and walk those three blocks to the grocery store . . . and think about something complex along the way. Challenge yourself.