"I'm smart, but I'm not just-graduated-from-Hong-Kong-kindergarten-smart."
Those kids can also read Chinese...so they've got two up on me. (via)
If you read another article about this, it will feature a clip from the Today show where 5 grown-ass adults laugh about how hard this puzzle was for them. I'm not going to play that clip, a) because it's not funny, and b) because their graphic kind of ruins the puzzle. Matt Lauer and the gang should feel terrible for not passing this standard question for Hong Kong private school first-grade candidates.
If you've gotten this far in the article and haven't solved it yet...well, bad news. It's public first grade for you. The Hong Kong admissions tests only allows 20 seconds to solve this problem for youngsters. OK, fine, it's not the only question on the test, but how many questions for kindergarteners can you really get wrong and still say "I deserve to be in this school." Probably more when you're 5 years old.
Are you hoping I'll accidentally give you a clue? Nope. I'm going to hit return five times and if you want, you can scroll down and see the answer.
Just giving you one more chance. (via)
It's upside down. The numbers go 86, 87 (the answer), 88, 89, 90, 91—but from right to left because it's upside down. Sure, you could argue that the reason adults fail to solve this isn't that we're dumber, but because we've gotten so used to knowing how the world works that our brains have lost the flexibility shown in kids who are less tied down by expectations of how numbers, parking lots, or word problems work.