Learning psychology from riddles: The case of stumpers

Maya Bar-Hillel
Tom Noah
Shane Frederick

Riddles can teach us psychology when we stop to consider the psychological principles that make them “work”. This paper studies a particular class of riddles that we call stumpers, and provides analysis of the various principles (some familiar, some novel) that inhibit most people from finding the correct solution – or any solution – even though they find the answers obvious ex post. We restrict our analysis to four stumpers, propose the psychological antecedents of each, and provide experimental support for our conjectures

February, 2018
Published in: 
Judgment and Decision Making 13.1 (2018): 112.