Wason’s Simple Test Uses Just 4 Cards to Determine How You Use Logic

The folks over at the YouTube channel WonderWhy have stumbled upon some 50-year old research that still packs a powerful punch today when it comes to determining one’s ability to use deductive reasoning.

It’s a super-simple test invented in 1966 by cognitive psychologist Peter Cathcart Wason. And, this dude dedicated his life to the psychology of reasoning, and his theories diverged from what was then ‘standard’ psychology.

He started with the ideas that humans are unable to reason.

That’s right.

And, as such, since so much of life is inconsistent, one cannot apply reason anyhow.

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A lot of his most well known work examines the idea of confirmation bias.

You’ve probably heard that term thrown around.

It’s basically the idea that we seek out evidence to prove or confirm what we already believe.

He created a series of tests to examine confirmation bias and humanity’s illogical nature, and we’ve got one here that we’re going to try one out right now!

This is called the Wason Selection Task.

It uses four cards.

Photo Credit: WonderWhy/YouTube

These are the only four cards involved in the scenario.

The only thing you need to know about these cards:

Photo Credit: WonderWhy/YouTube

Now, here’s the rule:

Photo Credit: WonderWhy/YouTube

Again, these are the four cards:

Photo Credit: WonderWhy/YouTube

And there are no others.

This really is a simple test, so I want to make sure that everything is totally clear.

You have four cards, letters on one side and numbers on the other.

The rule we are trying to test is: “If a card has a vowel on one side, it must have an even number on the other side:”

Photo Credit: WonderWhy/YouTube

Now, the question:

Which card(s) must be turned over to determine whether or not the rule is followed?

Think about it.

Only 4% of those who try actually get this right.

So keep that in mind, and know that I was not one of them.

Scroll back up if you have to, and meet me when you’re ready for the answer.