Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It's All In Your Mind - Answers Revealed

In our last post, we posed Dr. Shane Frederick's three-question Cognitive Reflection Test, and promised the answers. Here they are:

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? _$1.05____ cents

(2) If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets? _5___ minutes

(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? __47___ days

According to Dr. Frederick, those who are able to correctly answer all three questions are the most brilliant among us. Well, I will confess, I correctly responded to number 2 immediately, and came up with the answer to number 3 only after drawing it out on paper. However, I do not think this is in any way indicative of a lack of brilliance on my part. I simply have no interest in baseball.

I think the real test of one's cognitive reflection, or critical thinking skills, is not necessarily related to their IQ (sorry, Dr. Frederick). The real indicator is how someone looks at a problem, not just coming up with the correct mathmatical answer. To be a true critical thinker, you have to be able to suspend your own opinions and biases, and look at a problem from every possible angle - step out of your own shoes, walk across the room and see it in a completely different light. Those of us who are able to do this consistently are the truly brilliant among us, for they will see not just answers, but possibilities.

No comments:

Post a Comment