A Commentary on Mel Rutherford'S 'On the Use and Misuse of the "Two Children'' Brainteaser'

Maya Bar-Hillel

Rutherford (2010) criticizes the way some people have analyzed the 2-children problem, claiming (correctly) that slight nuances in the problem's formulation can change the correct answer. However, his own data demonstrate that even when there is a unique correct answer, participants give intuitive answers that differ from it systematically -- replicating the data reported by those he criticizes. Thus, his critique reduces to an admonition to use care in formulating and analyzing this brainteaser -- which is always a good idea -- but contributes little to what is known, analytically or empirically, about the 2-children problem.

May, 2010
Published in: 
Pragmatics and Cognition 18 (2010)