The 10-Second Psychological Game That Shows How Your Brain Works

Photo: Eky Studio / Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock
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The human mind is like a filing cabinet, or the old school Dewey Decimal System found in the libraries of our childhoods. It organizes information by importance, priority, and associations.

These preset associations that have been built over your lifetime are what you draw on to answer questions and make assumptions in real time.

In cognitive science, these are referred to as “prototypes.” They make sense of and order your experiences, helping to set expectations and dictate actions. Without them, the world would be lost.

These prototypes are part of the magic of your mind. Having answers at your disposal is much more beneficial and efficient than having to make associations on the spot.

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And there's one game that can determine the way your brain operates.

This 10-second psychological game was created to determine how your brain works.

To play the game, simply watch the video below, or scroll down for instructions.



First, answer the following math questions quickly:

1 + 1 = ?

2 + 2 = ?

4 + 4 = ?

8 + 8 = ?

Then, name a vegetable as fast as you can.

What vegetable did you choose?

What do the results mean?

If you said carrot as your vegetable, your brain works the same as about 90% of people who have played this game.

If you said a vegetable that wasn't a carrot, your brain continues to stay in independent thinking, even when someone else tries to make you think in another thought pattern.

There's a reason why this game is called the carrot psychological game!

Why do people automatically think about a carrot?

On the subreddit, Psychology Students, one user posted to inquire about the carrot game.

“98% of people say 'carrot'. I said 'apple' while seeing a carrot in my mind (ADHD/possibly dyslexic things). Anyone know why that happens? It's a psychology thing, I'm sure, but specifically why?” they asked.

The carrot game is meant to force the person to say the word “carrot” voluntarily. Although the outcome is not the same 100% of the time, the results are fairly consistent.

The purpose of the carrot game is to see if you automatically answer along the lines with what the masses think, or if you think independently and are less susceptible to influence.

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One person commented, “I too think it is just that the task is constructed as a easy, quick, common math, leading the mind to think about the common vegetable (carrot). This might not be as fun and exciting as we wanted the answer to be, but sometimes the human thinking really is that simple.”

In cognitive science, a carrot is the “prototypical” idea of a vegetable for most people. When considering the vegetables, carrots are most easily associated.

Carrots have long been associated with healthy eating and health. Who can forget the mixed carrots and peas served at lunch or your parents imploring you to eat your carrots if you want good vision?

These early connections cement carrots as the vegetable in all of our minds. Now, whenever we hear the word “vegetable,” a carrot comes to mind.

What does your choice in vegetable mean?

The carrot game or trick is usually used as an icebreaker in social situations. In those cases, the person asking the questions “predicts” the answer everyone will provide, which is usually “carrot.”

But there are some ideas about how your brain functions that can be taken from your answer.

If your response aligns with the responses of most people, you may tend to focus on familiarity over logic. This can play out as unconscious bias in some cases.

For instance, if you have been conditioned to believe that only men can be firefighters because that’s all you’ve seen, when you hear the word “firefighter,” your mind will conjure up images of men in uniform.

On the other hand, let’s say you come up with “turnip” when asked to name a vegetable. This means that your mind functions in in its own unique way.

Although you have likely seen carrots associated with “vegetable” throughout your life, you have used your internal logic and decided that turnip made the most sense to you.

Picking what is out of the ordinary is a sign that you are an independent thinker.

It means that you are willing to look past the obvious and dig deeper to find the best answer or solution to a problem. Whether it’s just a fun way of getting to know people or as a way to look into your mindset to determine how you respond to situations is up in the air.

Any time you get to be introspective and mindful of who you are as a person, you set yourself up for growth and new opportunities.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and the author of seven books. She covers lifestyle and entertainment & news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.