We have all seen taunts like ‘Only 1 in 1 million people can solve this,’ tempting us to clear our schedule and cancel meetings just to solve the problem.
The newest ‘simple’ equation is currently going viral: 8÷2(2+2)=?
It looks easy, right? But are you sure about your answer?
It is possible that you got one of the two answers: you either belong to the people who got 16 or one of those whose answer is 1.
The internet is raging with professional mathematicians and amateurs debating what the real answer is.
Some even used calculators to show people that the answer was 16 while others mentioned that they have ‘maths degrees’ and 1 should be the answer.
Others suggested that both answers were correct depending on the rules being applied.
The main reason why the equation went viral is that people are using different rules to determine the answer.
Social psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Robert Glenn Howard, said to Slate that such equations are the same as games and riddles. People debate over such things as social media are a place for discussion.
“People are already primed to engage in pretty intense deliberations, and that can bleed over into the way they play games.”
“Humans have used riddles as a form of play since ancient times,” Howard added.
“And sometimes people can get competitive and wrapped up in it.”
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