Spot the Odd One Out in the Sea of Zs–How Sharp Are Your Powers of Observation?

April 13, 2020 Updated: April 20, 2020

It’s not just military pilots and watchmakers who need to take good care of their eyesight; keen observation skills are useful to those who drive for a living or spend all day writing on a computer—as well as those in other professions.

Here is a fun game to sharpen up your powers of observation, while taking a short break from your daily grind at the same time—but not while you’re driving, of course.

Are you ready for the challenge?

Epoch Times Photo
(Illustration – Prostock-studio/Shutterstock)

This “odd-one-out” challenge, originally shared on Wake Up Your Mind, features a field filled with the letter Z, dizzying the eyes with endless repetition; but therein lies the difficulty for the keen observer: hidden somewhere in the sea of similar letters is an odd symbol, a “Z imposter,” if you will.

Hunt through the forest of Zs with your eyes and try to find the odd one out. Test your observation skills and see how long it takes you to locate the hidden character. Can you find it?

Epoch Times Photo
(The Epoch Times)

Scan the field from left to right, top to bottom. Did you find the hidden intruder? If so, how long did it take you?

For those who are truly stumped, the answer is posted below.

The number 7 is hiding among the rows upon rows of the letter Z. The number blends in beautifully with its neighbors. The number’s acute angle closely resembles the letter Z without its bottom line, making this a tricky puzzle for the observer. If you found it very quickly, congratulations; you might want to sign on as a fighter jet pilot for the Air Force! Or perhaps take up brain surgery?

If it took a long time to find, or if you were unable to find it at all, well, that’s the reason we have all those other jobs in society for you to perform.

Epoch Times Photo
(The Epoch Times)

Visual puzzles can provide much more than a momentary brain boost for people who find themselves using a screen for hours every day. According to Men’s Health, research conducted by Dr. Susanne Jäggi at the University of Michigan has discovered that 25 minutes of puzzling per day, ideally centered around sequences and shapes, could raise the IQ by as much as four points.

In addition, research from a 2011 neuropsychological study of 488 residents of Bronx County, New York, found that engaging in “cognitively stimulating leisure activities” such as visual, number-based, or crossword puzzles could delay the onset of memory decline in seniors.

According to Psychology Today, the psychologists Robert Sternberg and Janet Davidson have deduced that solving puzzles requires the brain to compare new information with information already stored in the memory. The brain must then combine that data, new and old, to form novel ideas or solutions, thereby exercising neural pathways that will improve the brain’s ability to complete other, more necessary, tasks (such as school or work-related challenges) throughout the day.

Epoch Times Photo
(Illustration – Monstar Studio/Shutterstock)

Solving puzzles, said Sternberg and Davison, can be characterized as a cocktail of imaginative association and memory. The solution to a puzzle can also produce a gratifying effect that acts as a mood booster, increasing a person’s intrinsic motivation and their capacity for sustaining concentration.

For anybody who thought that smartphones, tablets, and laptops had made old-school puzzles obsolete, the perennial appeal of the “odd-one-out” challenge begs to differ!

Why not invite your family and friends to try this puzzle and see who can find that sneaky hidden number in the fastest time?