What type of thinker are you?

Don’t read ahead and see the spoiler!

First take this short quiz by MIT Professor Shane Frederick, which is designed to identify a person’s thinking style between analytical and intuitive.



Here are the questions:

1) If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets? _______ minutes

2) In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Everyday, 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 the lake? _________ days

3) A bat and ball together cost $1.10. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? _________ cents

So what are your answers? (see below to check your answers).

I only got number 3 right, and that didn’t come immediately. That is not a surprise, physics and math word problems have always been my down fall in school and I had to work extra hard on those subjects. Pretty much the reason why my MCAT score suffered in the past! I am horrible at this, which means I am not an analytical thinker! *makes a sad face*

So if you got 2 or 3 right, you are an analytical thinker. If you are like me and got only one right or none at all, then you are an intuitive thinker according to this test.

A quick google search to define for us what these categories mean.

Intuitive thinkers: tend to focus more on the world of possibility. Unlike sensing learners who are interested in the here and now, intuitive learners enjoy considering ideas, possibilities, and potential outcomes. These learners like abstract thinking, daydreaming, and imagining the future.

Analytical thinkers: Ability to scrutinize and break down facts and thoughts. Developing the capacity to think in a thoughtful, discerning way to solve problems, analyze data and recall and use information. Approach problems based on facts and logic rather than emotions, problem solvers .

Okay, so there is a point to this post rather than the type of thinkers we are or our ablity to solve three word problems. A recent study published in the journal Science from researchers at Canada’s University of British Columbia concluded religious belief is rooted in intuitive thought.

“Religious belief is intuitive – and analytical thinking can undermine intuitive thinking,” said Ara Norenzayan, co-author of the study. “So when people are encouraged to think analytically, it can block intuitive thinking.”

You can read more details about the study by searching google, but in short participants were asked similar questions as the three above and those who thought analytically through the problems to reach the answer were less likely to believe in religion.

Here are the answers:

Question 1: Analytical answer: 5 minutes. Intuitive answer: 100 minutes
Question 2: Analytical answer: 47 days. Intuitive answer: 24 days
Question 3: Analytical answer: 5 cents. Intuitive answer: 10 cents

I found the study particularly interesting. Anyone that has read this blog, will know I do believe in religion and interestingly enough I fall under the intuitive category. I didn’t answer 100 minutes, but I didn’t get 5 minutes either. I thought more information was needed and I still can’t get the answer. I refuse to consider myself dumb:(

Personally I do consider myself, if the defination above is considered to be more of an intuitive type of thinker. But of course human beings are very complex and one category or few questions do not simply identify our thinking process. Nor am I suggesting people that believe in religion are irrational and don’t think logically.

I only found it interesting and wondering what the answers of others are to these short questions and if their religious belief or lack thereof fall in line with the research. What do you think?

Here are more articles on this: https://news.google.com/news/story?hl=en&gl=ca&q=thinking+religion&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ncl=dOEjOei3W4vo5HMmTFsyVxNJn-PyM&ei=PDGbT7TSM-KC2AXf0P3dDg&sa=X&oi=news_result&ct=more-results&resnum=1&ved=0CC0QqgIwAA


2 Responses to What type of thinker are you?

  1. Chinyere says:


    Haha, I only got #2 right, though I did think of the intuitive answer first before recognizing that the lily pads are increasing exponentially. I had to look up the explanation for the third one to get it, haha…oops! And the first one, I looked at it sideways and was like…okay. It’s not that each machine takes a minute in series to make the widgets (then the answer would be 100). It’s that each machine takes five minutes to make a widget.

    I guess this would make me an intuitive thinker? Which, by the way, shouldn’t say anything about your prowess in the math and sciences, if what this says is true. I’m of the opinion that no tests really measures your intelligence. But thinking style…interesting. I also believe in religion, so that’s interesting that I have the intuitive thinking style. That makes sense to me. Life is not reducible to an equation, and if you try to, you would have to deny God or any other Supernatural elements, because you can’t fit that into logic.

    An intuitive thinker can be analytical when they need to be. But I think it’s a mercy that we don’t have to be analytical at all times.

    • Guulo says:

      Well, let me just say I feel better that very smart people like yourself struggled with these questions, like they say misery loves company.Hehe:) I put these questions to some of my friends, one who is agnostic and the results were similar not that I am putting much faith into the study results, I only found it interesting. As you put it very well, life is not reducible to an equation.

      As someone who has agnostic /atheistic friends and reads works from atheistic thinkers, I think it would be fair to say they would think that people who believe in religion are not only illogical but delusional as well. I think it is becoming increasingly difficult, especially for those of us in modern societies and higher education to be believers in “organized” religion. There is an intellectual challenge of sort. In some ways similar to what this study is suggesting depending on the interpretation.

      Nonetheless, I do enjoy the challenge and discourse. I find it fascinating even.

      It’s a mercy indeed to not be analytical at all times and to add to that, I think we do ourselves a huge disservice by getting comfortable with our state of knowledge about the “secrets of the universe” which I think many of us do. And if not comfortable we distract ourselves with the familiar, of what we have always known, or with work, fun and games etc….this is why I find people who question and wonder restlessly about everything very intriguing even though others including the religious leadership may find them to be “heedless” and their search to be fruitless.

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