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Outliers Puzzle

Outliers Puzzle

I’ve recently read the book Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell.
It’s a very interesting book which Iwon’t go into here as this post is about a puzzle within the book that is supposedly from a Raven’s IQ test.

This puzzle as the book says is a bit of a challenge and the likes of Chris Langan with a very high IQ (195-210) could easily solve.
See a copy of the puzzle below. Have a go at trying to solve it first before looking at my answer below.



Getting frustrated or got a possible solution?

Can’t work out what the answer to the outliers puzzle is, then fear not, you can still impress your friends and tell them the answer but, you’ll need to go to the follwing page Outliers Solution and see the answer, or if you already have the answer and just want to check your solution against mine or provide another possible solution.

Hope you picked up a few IQ points along the way.

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9 Responses to Outliers Puzzle

  • A, One of the symbols is always left by itself.

  • This puzzle is strange, not because it is difficult, but because it is flawed. Raven’s matrices generally involve some algorithm that one must crack. As the initial matrix in the system is flawed, this becomes difficult. Let me demonstrate:

    Consider the mapping:
    1. (C)lover -> (H)eart
    2. (D)iamond -> (C)lover
    3. (H)eart -> (D)iamond

    Now, label the matrices 1-9 starting as in the following:
    1 2 3
    4 5 6
    7 8 9

    Now, trace the transitions from, 2-3,3-4,4-5,5-6,6-7,7-8,8-9 with the following algorithm, and you will obtain answer A.

    Shift = place your finger over first symbol in the top left hand corner. Now write down the remaining symbols as in:
    H C C
    H D D
    D C H
    with the last symbol being the one your finger is covering, e.g. the H at entry 9.
    Replace = using the mapping, replace each source symbol to its target, i.e.
    D H H
    D C C
    C H D

    Look at the third matrix. Matches, doesn’t it?

    Now, take the third matrix and rotate it 90 degrees counterclockwise. You then obtain the next matrix in ROW 2. This is 3-4.

    If you apply the shift/replace algorithm from 4-5, 5-6 and rotate from 6-7, you get the correct results. Moreover, if you apply shift/replace from 7-8,8-9, you wind up with the correct answer, i.e. A. I did some studying of this problem and found that if matrix H was the first matrix in the problem, the entire thing would work correctly. It’s to coincidental that it works for all matrix transitions expect 1 -2. Of course, the algorithm is logical and makes perfect sense.

    Ken Myers

  • Yes, the answer seems to be A. The part that I hate is the pattern only works respectively.

  • Yeah you just have to take out the top left variable and place it in the bottom right and substitute.

  • I found my answer works fine. If you make a decryption table, use it to create symbols from 2 others, you can create the first, second and third symbol from the first 2 symbols, the last 2 symbols, and the lower first 2 symbols reversed of the previous matrix respectively. Works for every matrix.

  • I solved it by realizing that only certain patterns within the boxes are “allowed” to go together. If you combine parts of the boxes with parts of the other ones than you realize that A is the only one that fits the criteria.

  • I solved it a little bit differently than it seems most people are. I realized that only certain patterns within the boxes are “allowed” to go together. If you combine parts of the boxes with parts of the other ones than you realize that A is the only one that fits the criteria.

  • yes the answer is A

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