How to increase IQ? Solving problems by selective encoding -Part I

30. November 2016

How to increase IQ? Solving problems by selective encoding -Part I

Human beings are the only animals that can consciously decide to choose what and how to think, the mindset to have or the mood to adopt. All other animals act automatic.

In order to think effectively ‘Mind fitness is essential’ says John O’Keeffe.
He has given the following exercise in his book, ‘Your one week way to Mind fitness’:

Imagine the following situation. A boy and his father are driving along in a car and are involved in a severe head-on car crash. They are both very badly injured and trapped in wreckage. The ambulance arrives and manages to get the body out first and drives him away rapidly to hospital with sirens blazing. The boy is put in a cubicle, looks at the boy and says: ‘Oh dear, It is Peter, my son’.

What is the relationship between the doctor and the boy and what has happened?Please do not read further.
Think about this for a few moments and find out the answer.

People think of various solutions to this problem. For example they think of stepfathers and stepsons. They think of situations in which the father is released from the wreckage and is flown by helicopter to the hospital and the father is actually the doctor who sees his son. Some people think of solutions that involve priests who might call someone ‘my son’ in a clerical way or even priests who might be called ‘Father’ in the first place.

The simple solution is that the doctor is the boy’s mother.

It is quite shocking to see how many people do not find the solution easily.

If it took you longer than a millisecond to get it, then the problem is your mind-set, even your prejudice.

The logic of the problem is incredibly easy: the boy has two parents, a mother and father. If the father is still in the wreckage, it is clear that it must be the other parent who is the doctor and that is his mother.It makes even more sense because the medical profession is one in which many females work.

Take one more problem.

In a country that allows polygamy, a man married three women. Each woman had only one husband, and each woman had a legitimate child. Yet none of these children were at all related to each other. How is this possible?

Is it baffling? In order to solve this problem selective encoding is required for its solution. Once you master selective encoding technique you can solve the complicated problems.

The answer for the above problem:

The man performed the marriage ceremonies. The critical word in this problem is ‘married.’ The man married the various women,but he did not himself become married to them.

Robert J Sternberg in his famous book A Triarchic theory of Human Intelligence explains in detail about selective encoding. Apart from the above cited problem he has given many more interesting problems to solve.

We will see them in our next article.

Santhanam Nagarajan


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