Why couldn't I solve the 9 dot problem until I saw it on paper?

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Offline thedoc

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Kelvin Jones  asked the Naked Scientists:
Hello Dr. Chris,

I am current listening to the up all night podcast in which you were puzzling over the 9-dot problem.

As I was walking for 10 minutes trying to picture the 9 points, I couldn't figure out how to solve the puzzle.

As soon as I got to the train station I wrote the points down on a notebook and immediately solved it. Weird. Might have something to do with being a programmer and used to solving problems... unfortunately my left-brain is somewhat less developed.

Love the up all night programme.


Kelvin Jones.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 29/04/2012 11:54:01 by _system »


Offline CliffordK

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I first saw the "puzzle" (connect all dots with 4 straight lines without lifting your pencil) presented as a "think outside the box" situation.

Perhaps when you're imaging the grid in your mind,  you automatically form a box around it. 
Only once you get it down on paper, you can truly think outside of the box.