Test Your Logic: Who Will Determine His Own Hat Color Before All the Others? And Why?

June 3, 2019 Updated: June 7, 2019

Logic riddles are timeless and never get old. As our daily routine doesn’t always present opportunities to test our logical prowess, we may forget how satisfying it is activating those mental skills to solve a good problem!

Here’s a doozie for you that should perk you up in your chair. This riddle might seem impossible at first glance, but try thinking logically, and you’ll begin to see the possibilities.

Instructions:

There are four Alcatraz prisoners who were selected to play a game of logic where the winner would be rewarded with his freedom. They were brought outside the prison and told to line up on a flight of stairs nearby the prison wall, as per the illustration below:

As you can see, Man 1, 2, and 3 are lined up on different levels and have different viewpoints. A wall separates Man 4 from the others. They are all facing the same direction. Note the following:

-Man 1 can see Man 2 and 3.

-Man 2 can only see Man 3.

-Man 3 can see none of the others.

-Man 4 also can see none of the others.

The prisoners are all given hats to wear. There are 2 white hats and 2 black hats, and the prisoners know this; but they do not know what color hat they are wearing. Whoever figures out what color hat they are wearing must shout out the color. The first person to correctly shout out their own hat color is the winner. Which man will be the first to yell out the answer, and why?

Note:

The prisoners must abide by some rules: No man is allowed to take off or look at their hat, turn around or move, nor are they allowed to speak or communicate to each other. They are all perfectly logical people, and will not shout out random answers or guess.

Take a moment to figure out a solution. Although it may seem counterintuitive, there is in fact a perfectly logical solution to the riddle. Once you have your answer, or should you give up and wish to see the answer, scroll down below for an explanatiom.

The answer is: Man 2

Man 2 will be able to determine the color of his hat and shout it out first. Why? Consider that Man 1 can see what color hat Man 2 and 3 are wearing. Using simple logic, we know that were Man 2 and 3 wearing the same color hat, then Man 1 would deduce that his hat must be the opposite color (remember: there are only two hats of each color); then he would shout out his answer first, but as Man 2 and 3 are wearing different color hats, Man 1 cannot know for sure which hat he himself is wearing. Thus, he remains silent.

Man 2 can see the color of Man 3’s hat: black. Man 1’s silence indicates that the hats worn by Man 2 and 3 must be different. He will thus infer his own hat color. Certain of his answer, Man 2 will shout out, “White!” thus winning the game, and his freedom.

If you found this answer on your own, great job! You certainly would have had to consider the situation logically. If you didn’t get it, don’t worry—it was a doozie!

Thanks to logical deduction, Man 2 will leave the notorious island prison behind and roam the mainland once again, hopefully a reformed man… Never mind the fact that the game was stacked in his favor from the start.

We’re watching you!

Are you ready for another one? Well, try this one on for size then:

Can You Tell Who Is the ‘Dumbest’ Person in This Picture? Put Your Logic Skills to the Test

Anyone who’s been in enough heated discussions at the dinner table, over a controversial topic like, say, politics, knows that a given situation can be interpreted in many different ways.

That’s precisely the idea behind this mind-bending riddle that we have labored to produce for you, our viewer, to ponder over.

There is no absolute “right” or “wrong” answer to this. Yet, applying logic and philosophy may reveal some interesting conclusions, which may even teach us a thing or two.

Here, we’ve come up with two conclusions to this puzzle (although there are bound to be more)—each of which are based on two completely different premises. And here’s where it gets interesting: the premise that you tend to gravitate to probably reveals something about what kind of thinker you are! So, give it a whirl and see how your conclusion matches ours.

Let’s begin!

Take a look at the illustration below. Then, answer the question: “Who is the dumbest person sitting in the tree?” 

A Few Pointers: Compare each person, where they are sitting, and what they are doing. Their actions and facial expressions may come into play. Also, note that falling from the tree is likely to cause injury—so, risks are involved. And, consider the exact meaning of the word “dumb” when deciding. Once you have chosen your answer, check below and see how it compares to ours. We will explain our premises and what they may say about you!

Or, if you arrived at an entirely different answer than ours, please share what you came up with!

Answer 1: Person 1 Is the Dumbest

Answer 1 Premise: Survival of the Fittest

Simple logic tells us that the best position is whoever is closest to the tree trunk. He has the advantage over the others sitting on the branches. By that logic, we may infer that the persons in the weakest positions are the least smart by virtue that they chose the least logical positions (assuming that everything else is equal). Therefore, persons 1 and 4 are candidates for being the dumbest.

Yet, by virtue of the fact that person 4 appears to be under duress—perhaps suicidal—we infer that he is at least aware of his poor position and the consequences.

On the other hand, person 1 appears calm as he watches the danger that is unfolding but seems oblivious of what is going to happen, which leads to the conclusion that person 1 is the dumbest.

This premise reflects the idea of selection: that those who are the smartest survive by virtue of their sharp wits.

If You Gravitate Toward This Answer …

…You are likely a believer in scientific progress and questioning old ideas with reason and logic. Science provides new ways of understanding the world and society, and you believe that we can reshape the future to achieve the outcomes that we desire. You may regard old institutions as dogmatic or superstitious.

Answer 2: Person 3 Is the Dumbest

Answer 2 Premise: Metaphysical Justice

While logic reveals who is in the better position in terms of the here and now, there are also broader ramifications, which are no less logical, that offset the conclusion, based on moral and metaphysical consequences.

The idea of justice opens up a larger field of possibilities for punishment in the future. That could mean jail time or other forms of payback. On a metaphysical level, that may mean accruing “bad karma,” reincarnation as a lower life-form, or going to hell for eternity after death. Then, the perceived advantage of the previous logic shrinks, and all future consequences of the acts also need to be taken into account.

The dumbest person would be whoever got the worst retribution in the end.

Ideally, person 1 should try to prevent the malicious actions taking place, though it might be too late and pointless to resist. It’s also possible that he’s too dull to realize the danger he’s in. Yet, we can say by virtue of his inaction that he’s smart enough to avoid committing any transgressions against anyone else.

Meanwhile, person 4 is in the act of endangering himself, which if intentional, is not a good thing. Yet, because he appears to be under duress, his actions may not determine how sensible he normally would be. At the very least, his actions are aimed at only one individual.

Now, persons 2 and 3 appear to be maliciously committing a crime. They may go to jail, face vigilante justice, or suffer in the afterlife. They are knowingly attempting to harm others, and the results will be the most serious of all. Person 3 is likely to face the worst punishment, as he is attempting to harm two individuals, as opposed to just one, and therefore he is the dumbest.

If You Gravitate Toward This Answer …

…You are likely supportive of time-honored moral or civil institutions and traditions (including metaphysical beliefs and ideas) as opposed to newer, more groundbreaking theories that stem from science. You believe they haven’t proven themselves over the test of time, and more caution is warranted in making so-called “progress.”

Photo Credit: Illustration – The Epoch Times

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