Once considered the ultimate measure of intelligence – the IQ test’s reputation has taken a hit in recent years, proved to be biased and well, not a great measure of actual intelligence.
However, it hasn’t stopped us from wanting to see how we measure up, pushed on by the fact that deep down, we all think we’re just a little bit smarter than those around us. (Or is that just millennials?)
Enter the Cognitive Reflection Test – a three-question quiz described as the world’s shortest IQ test – that’s perfect for having a bit of fun testing your brain power (and maybe feeling a little smug about getting one right).
Listen: Could you answer these year 3 and 5 questions?
Be wary though – at first, these questions seem simple. Too simple. In fact, they are harder than you think. Whether you get the answers right – and how quickly you do it, is how this little test separates the average schlub from the intellectually gifted.
Question 1: A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
Question 2: If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?
Question 3: In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake?
Had a go?
Chances are your answers were: 10 cents, 100 minutes and 24 days, right?
I'm so sorry to be the bearer of bad news my friend, but you are not a genius. Those answers are all wrong.
Here are the correct answers and the way they're figured out.
Question 1: The ball is 5 cents.
If it were $0.10 then the ball would actually cost $1.10 ($1 more) and the total would be $1.20. Meanwhile $0.05 + $1.05 = $1.10.
Question 2: Five minutes.
They tried to confuse you with the five machines taking five minutes to make five widgets. One widget still takes five minutes to make one widget. Therefore, 100 machines will take five minutes to make 100 widgets.
Question 3: 47 days.
Now, you may have noticed a pattern here: the first thing your brain jumps to is obvious, but it's not right. The test is actually designed that way. So the rule is the lily patch doubles in size each day. Another way to think about it is: the patch was half the size the previous day. So, on day 48 it covered the whole lake, the previous day (day 47) it covered half the lake.
Don't feel too bad if you got none right while your workmate got all three - they've probably been exposed to similar Cognitive Reflection Test-style questions before, which according to researchers who examined the test, is a massive advantage.
And if you are one of those people who got all three and didn't take a similar quiz before, well, don't get too smug either. It only has a "moderate positive correlation" with other measures of intelligence, according to its creator Shane Frederick.
(Okay, go ahead, you can be a little bit smug.)
How many answers did you get right?
H/t: The Sun.