"So confusing": Jackie O gets stumped by "simple" maths question
Listener Liam called into The Kyle and Jackie O show to ask the maths question designed for year two students.
“I’ve only ever seen a couple of people get it, but it’s so simple; it’s really not hard,” he told Jackie O and Kyle Sandilands.
“If you buy a baseball bat and a baseball and your total is a $1.10 and the bat cost one dollar more than the ball, how much is the ball?”
“10 cents, right?” Jackie quickly answered, only to be told she was wrong.
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“Jeez I can’t understand, because you’ve spent a $1.10, so there’s only a $1.10 spent, if it’s a dollar more,” she said.
The right answer came from newsreader Brooklyn Ross, who guessed that the ball was 5 cents and the bat was $1.05.
“I think I’ve even heard that before but I’ve forgotten the answer,” Jackie said. “It’s one of those famous questions.”
“That hurts my brain,” one person wrote, while another said it was “so confusing”.
Behavioural economist Daneil Kahneman said that most people get this question wrong because people rely on intuition to problem solve and for this question, intuitively the answer seems like it should be 10 cents.
He explained the concept in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, but further explained the idea to Business Insider.
“The distinctive mark of this easy puzzle is that it evokes an answer that is intuitive, appealing and wrong,” he wrote in an excerpt published by Business Insider.
“Many people are overconfident, prone to place too much faith in their intuitions.
“They apparently find cognitive effort at least mildly unpleasant and avoid it as much as possible.”