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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Tricky Questions

How literally can you take some verbal reasoning questions?

Suppose we are faced with:

Tomato is to red as pea is to …….

Now any good convergent thinker would be able to work out that the first term is talking about food and the second about colour. Peas are, of course, green. So the answer is green. But what happens when your bright nine year old argues that you can have green tomatoes or even yellow tomatoes? Then the logic of the question tends to collapse.

A more divergent thinker, however, would argue that we know that a tomato is a fruit but it is eaten as a vegetable. A pea, however, is a small, edible round green bean. So neither the tomato nor the pea are what they appear to be – unless we categorise them both as food.

So your nine year old is not arguing with you to stop the two of you doing any work – there may be a genuine concern that their point of view is not taken into account. These then are the questions that you need to enjoy and spend time on. Enjoy the discussion!

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