Can You Figure Out Which Box Holds the Prize If Only One of the Statements Is True?

August 10, 2020 Updated: August 10, 2020

These days, people are echoing the modern meme “think outside the box.” Designers and innovators make it their mantra, while puzzlers know it’s the key to unlocking diabolical brainteasers and logic puzzles.

But not this time.

Rather than think outside the box, we’re asking you to do the opposite: to ponder over what’s inside one of these three boxes. You’re still going to need plenty of logical skill, however. Here is the problem:

There are three boxes shown below, numbered from 1 to 3. Only one of the three boxes has a prize hidden inside, and each box has a statement printed on the side.

But here’s the kicker: only one statement is true. The other two are false. Can you determine which box has the prize inside?

Epoch Times Photo

Take a minute or two to deduce the possibilities. There is more information than it might seem. When you think you have the answer, or if you’re absolutely baffled, scroll down to see the answer, along with an explanation.

Epoch Times Photo

Epoch Times Photo

The prize is in box 2!

Wondering how we arrived at this answer logically? Here’s an explanation:

As we know that only one of the three statements is true, we can look at different scenarios and make certain logical deductions. So, let’s run through the three possibilities and see what we can determine.

First, consider the possibility that the first statement is true (that the prize is in box 1). Take a look at the statement on box 2, which says the prize is NOT in box 2—which would also be true if the first statement were true. Therefore, as there can only be one true statement, we can deduce that first statement must be false.

Now, consider the possibility that the second statement is true (that the prize is not in box 2). If this were true, then the prize must be in either box 1 or 3, and that their statements must both be FALSE as well. Look at box 3; if this is false (as it must be), then the prize must be in box 1, which would make box 1 true. And as we can only have 1 true statement, we can deduce that the second statement is also false—which in fact tells us that the prize must be in box 2!

We may affirm this conclusion by considering the possibility of the third statement being true (that the prize is not in box 1). Look at the statement on box 1, which says the prize IS in box 1. This must be false if statement 3 is true. Now look at the second statement, that the prize is NOT in box 2. This must also be false if statement 3 is true. Therefore, we can confirm that the prize is indeed in box 2!

Illustrations made use of Shutterstock images.