A classic logic puzzle has left people having a hard time coming up with the correct answer.
While we have been facing similar puzzles ever since elementary school, many of us fail to answer the puzzle in question correctly on the first try.
“A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total,” the puzzle reads. “The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?”
If you’re already confident that the right answer is 10 cents, think again.
If the ball costs 10 cents, the bat would have to cost $1.10 due to the fact that the “bat costs $1.00 more than the ball.” In this case, the total price of the ball and the bat would be $1.20 ($0.10 + $1.10).
The correct answer to this puzzle is 5 cents. The ball costs 5 cents, whereas the bat costs $1.05, exactly one dollar more than the ball. Both items in total, therefore, cost $1.10.
If you failed to answer the puzzle correctly, don’t worry. Apparently, many people get it wrong as it is in our nature to attempt to simplify difficult problems by substituting them with simpler ones – in this case, this would mean assuming that the ‘$1.00 more than’ statement refers to the absolute cost of the bat.
Here’s the math behind the puzzle:
Let’s assume that: the bat = x; the ball = y.
We know that: x + y = 1.10
We also know that: x = y + 1.00 (because the bat costs one dollar more than the ball)
Now let’s put these two equations together:
x + y = 1.10
(y + 1.00) + y = 1.10
2y + 1.00 = 1.10
2y = 0.10
y (the ball) = 0.05 (5 cents)
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