Look at the shapes below and see if you can figure out which one doesn’t belong? That is, which one doesn’t follow a rule that the others follow?
Many puzzles have just one answer, but this one has more than one. In fact, any of the four shapes is a “correct” answer. It requires flexible thinking (cognitive flexibility) to come up with an explanation for each of the alternatives that explains why it is different in some way from the others.
Top left: This triangle is big; the others are small.
Top right: This triangle has unequal sides; the others are have equal sides (or nearly so).
Bottom right: This triangle is standing on one of its points; the others stand on a side (base).
Bottom right: This triangle is blue; the others are red.
Cognitive flexibility is one of three core Executive Functions, a special group of cognitive skills and help us manage how we focus, think and act. Cognitive flexibility helps us see things from different points of view, take a new approach when our first approach to solving a problem doesn’t work, and adapt our behavior to changes in the environment.