Once again, the Internet has proven its efficacy as a tool for sociology research with just a simple riddle.
The brain teaser this time around is baffling Internet users from around the globe, particularly those for whom English is not their first language.
There are several variations of this mental puzzle, but the most common is a question with multiple choices for an answer. The riddle goes: If X’s daughter is the daughter of my mother, how am I related to X?
In some cases, the riddle above has some regional variations with regard to X, which is most often replaced by a female name. The multiple choice answers include: grandmother, granddaughter, mother, daughter, and the most enigmatic: I am X.
It so happens that this simple riddle is complicated by the answers. If the question is poised without being followed by multiple answers, people are more likely to guess correctly. Internet users who fixate on the “I am X” answer are bound to be confused and lose the focus of solving the riddle.
The key to answering this seemingly difficult enigma, which is actually pretty straight-forward, is to focus on the person asking the question. If the name X is unambiguously female, we know that this is a woman. All women are daughters, so that is our first clue.
Although all women are daughters, not all of them are mothers or grandmothers. In this case, the woman telling the riddle is not X because “my daughter’s mother” is herself!
It is interesting to note that females whose native language is English are more likely to guess this riddle without giving it much thought. However, there is an even more interesting mental puzzle that men whose native language is not English are somehow better at figuring out:
A man and his son are driving down the highway when they suddenly get into an accident. The man is killed and the son is rushed to the nearest hospital. At the emergency room, the surgeon takes a look at the patient and screams: “This is my son!”
The answer to the above is also very easy: the surgeon is the mother of the man who survived the car crash and whose father did not survive. For some reason, by not mentioning the mother or any other females in the riddle, a male bias enters the mind of the person who is tasked with guessing. Similar to the riddle first mentioned herein, it is important to remember that all males are sons and have mothers at some point in their lives.