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January 5th, 2018 by

A person’s intelligence quotient, or IQ, is commonly measured by any number of standardized tests. Some of us may remember taking one of these, or even an aptitude test, in High School and suddenly finding out that we weren’t quite as smart as we thought we were.

We writers, for example, sometimes like to use big words in order to sound clever. Utilizing gargantuan idioms to fabricate intelligence.

I gave it a shot.

Of course, an IQ score is only an estimate of one’s intelligence, so if you’re part of the 2.5% in the world who scores lower than 70, don’t worry about it too much.

According to American psychologist, Arthur Robert Jensen, on average, people with higher IQ levels live longer, earn more, have larger working memories, faster reaction times and are more susceptible to visual illusions.

Okay, so perhaps there’s cause for a little alarm, then.

Taking these tests don’t need to entail long, drawn out examinations, such as the SAT commonly used in the United States. We found the shortest IQ test in the world, involving only three questions.

Give it a try, and let us know how you do!

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The Cognitive Reflection Test

Historically, our human intelligence was assessed by dividing our mental age score (derived from an intelligence test) by our chronological age. The resulting fraction is then multiplied by 100 to obtain our IQ score.

Times have evolved, though, and there are newer, simpler methods of determining just how dumb somebody really is. Such as the United States voting system.

Developed by psychologist Shane Frederick in 2005, the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT) may be the shortest IQ test in the world. Frederick published a paper in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, explaining that he picked these three questions because they were ‘found to yield impulsive erroneous responses.’

In other words, the questions aren’t just a measure of your intelligence, but also your patience. They trick you into jumping to conclusions.

Taken from Wikipedia:

According to Frederick, there are two general types of cognitive activity called ‘system 1’ and ‘system 2.’

System 1 is executed quickly without reflection, while system 2 requires conscious thought and effort.

The cognitive reflection test has three questions that each have an obvious but incorrect response given by system 1.

The correct response requires the activation of system 2. For system 2 to be activated, a person must note that their first answer is incorrect, which requires reflection on their own cognition.

So, basically, what Frederick wants us to do is override our impulsive, incorrect gut response, and closely analyse the problems instead. Experts say, the faster you can do this the closer you are to being a genius.

The test is much more difficult than it sounds, with even Yale and Harvard students struggling to get a perfect score.

Can you ignore your gut response? Can you think rationally?

Let’s see…

(The Answers are below, but try not to cheat)


Here Are the IQ Test Questions

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Artboard 2 - The World's Shortest IQ Test


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Here Are The Answers

  1. The ball costs 5 cents. A Princeton study discovered that people who answered 10 cents were considerably less patient than those who got it correct. Reportedly, more than 50% of Harvard students got this question wrong. If you guessed 10 cents, don’t beat yourself up too much. A ball that costs 5 cents plus a bat that costs $1.05 will cost $1.10. Also, $1.05 is exactly $1 more expensive than 5 cents.
  2. Your gut might tell you the answer is 100 minutes. From the question, though, we learn that it takes 5 minutes for 1 machine to make 1 widget. So, therefore, it would still take 5 minutes for 100 machines to make 100 widgets.
  3. The lily pads would cover half the lake in 47 days. It seems logical now, doesn’t it? Most people would answer 24 days, as it seems natural to halve the number of days, because you’re halving the size of the lily pad patch. Logically, though, if the size of the lily pad patch doubles every day, it would only take one day to go from half the lake to covering it entirely.


Let us know in the comments how you did!

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