Abstract thinking is the ability to extract ideas and concepts from our observations. According to Healthline, we use abstract reasoning skills in various day-to-day life situations, such as understanding and creating metaphors, problem-solving, or during creative processes.
It may come as a surprise that one example of people who use abstract thinking professionally are comedians. They see patterns of behavior in people and make unlikely connections that a general audience can appreciate. Another example of abstract thinking would be solving mathematical equations.
One of the many ways to improve your abstract reasoning is by regularly solving puzzles and taking on quizzes. Here are several fun little problems to allow you to practice your abstract thinking. Each of the five questions below requires some thinking outside the box. Take your time and try to solve the problems by yourself before scrolling down for the results.
1. Can you make the equation correct by only moving one matchstick?
2. Count how many numbers you see in the below image.
3. Can you create 7 squares by moving only two matches in the image?
4. In the sequence below, one symbol is missing. Can you figure out which one?
5. This is the image of a fish swimming in one direction. Can you make it swim the opposite way by only moving three matches?
Once you think you have found all of the answers, scroll down to see the correct answers:
1. In order to make the equation right, all you have to do is move the vertical matchstick of the plus sign to the left of the zero in order to transform it into a 10; thus: 11 – 10 = 1.
However, if you were paying enough attention, you may have found an alternate solution; by moving the vertical matchstick of the plus sign beside the 1 on the other side of the equation, you get: 11 – 0 = 11, which is also correct.
2. If you counted eight numbers, then you were absolutely correct! However, can you find any more that might be hidden somewhere in there? If we are allowed to find the same number multiple times, then we might find another 3 and another 8 hiding in the mix.
3. At first glance, this problem looks a bit complicated. However, all you need to do is move two matches from one of the corners and create a right-angle cross in the center of one of the remaining squares to create a total of 7 squares. How clever!
4. The correct answer is B, as that object breaks the anomaly of a unique shape in the first box of the second row and completes a pattern of similar-looking objects appearing more than once or several times in the group:
5. If you want to change the swimming direction of the “fish,” you simply need to take away the bottom of the fish’s tail, the bottom fin, and the bottom matchstick of the fish’s head, flip them with respect to each other and move them to the top of the fish.
And there you have it. If you managed to solve all the problems, pat yourself on the back; you’ve earned it. However, don’t worry if you didn’t. Just like anything, practice makes perfect.
How many did you get right? Were you surprised by any of the correct answers?