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If You Can Answer These 3 Questions, You'll Be a More Successful Person

A new study says the famous "Cognitive Reflection Test" is indeed a good predictor of job performance.

According to science, there's no shortage of predictors of professional success that you don't have that much control over. For instance, one study published in the journal The Leadership Quarterly found that those with strong and "trustworthy" facial structures have a professional edge. Another study, conducted by researchers at the University of Texas, found that successful men with deeper voices tend to get paid more. And according to a study published in Economic Letters, being born in June or July, which would make you among the youngest in your class, will instantly lower your chances of success.

But according to a new meta-analysis published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, there's one really good predictor of success you do have control over, and it only requires you to answer a three questions. If you can do so correctly, it'll only mean good things for your professional future. Read on to learn what they are—and see if you can answer them yourself. And for more advice from the front lines of psychology, make sure you're aware of the Danger Signs You Need a Vacation ASAP, Say Psychologists.

Meet the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT)

Overweight woman sitting on the floor and using her laptop.

Developed by psychologist Shane Frederick, in 2005, the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT) is a simple, 3-item test that created to test peoples' ability to shun their brain's "gut instinct" and find the correct answer to a question. In other words, each question employs a deceptive sleight-of-hand—at first the answer may seem easy, but if you apply deeper thinking to it, you'll see that it's not quite so easy.

CRT has been used to gauge several things, such as job performance. According to the new study, researchers set out to discover whether or not the CRT was indeed a predictor of professional competence. At the end of their analysis, the researchers concluded that the test "proved to be an excellent predictor of job performance and training proficiency."

No only that, but they even recommend that some hiring managers use the test when interviewing candidates. "As the Cognitive Reflection Test correlates significantly with job performance, they could be included among the procedures used for personnel selection, particularly when cognitive intelligence tests are not included in the batteries of selection procedures," they write.

Want to take the test? Here you go, with answers to follow in the final slide.

Question 1

baseball and peanuts

"A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?"

Question 2

Woman distracted in her office.

"If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?"

Question 3

trees and water at mirror lake state park wisconsin
Kristen Prahl/Shutterstock

"In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake?"

The Answers

woman stressed at her desk

Again, the test is designed to make you think you know the answer off the top of your head. If you do that, you may have answered 10 cents, 100 minutes, and 24 days. However, those are wrong. The correct answers are 5 cents, 5 minutes, and 47 days.


William Mayle
William Mayle is a UK-based writer who specializes in science, health, fitness, and other lifestyle topics. Read more about William