The power of the human mind is astonishing. It’s also highly unpredictable. On one hand it is capable of computer-like power; on the other hand, it is at times easily fooled.
I’ve always been fascinated by mind puzzles and thought exams that reveal the quirks in human thinking. Below are three puzzles—perhaps you’ve seen one or two before (they were vaguely familiar to me)—each of which reveals something interesting about the way our brains are wired.
The first test is a very simple test that a child can easily answer; and I got it wrong.The second test I failed as well (and could not stop laughing about it afterwards). By the third test I knew I was toast.
Without further ado, I invite you to answer the following questions. But remember, you must answer these questions quickly. No cheating!
(See answers and explanations below.)
Test 1: Count the Fs
Spend 10 seconds to count how many F’s are there in the following text:
FINISHED FILES ARE THE RESULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC STUDY COMBINED WITH THE EXPERIENCE OF YEARS.
Test 2: Biblical question
A simple question for people who know their Bible. How many of each kind of animal did Moses bring onto the ark?
Test 3: Mary’s Mother
Mary’s mother has four children: April, May, June and …?
How many F’s did you find in the sentence? Three? Me too, except that there are actually six. The mind doesn’t process the Fs in the word “of.”
If you quickly answered 2, you’re like most people … and you’re wrong. It was Noah who took animals on the ark, not Moses.
If you answered July, you have been tricked once again. The correct answer is Mary, which is told to us in the question itself. But our brains miss that information because it quickly grasps the pattern presented.