The 10-Second Psychological Test That Reveals If You're An Independent Thinker Or Not

You may need to start thinking outside the box.

Last updated on Apr 04, 2024

woman smiling with flower in hair Anastasia Shuraeva / Pexels

Having answers at your disposal is much more beneficial and efficient than having to make associations on the spot. And there's one game that can determine the way your brain operates.

This 10-second psychological game reveals if you're an independent thinker and shows how your brain works.

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



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Quickly answer the following math questions:

What's 1 + 1?

What's 2 + 2?

What's 4 + 4?

What's 8 + 8?

Now, name a vegetable as fast as you can.

Don't think too hard about it, just choose what pops into your mind first. So, what vegetable did you choose?

The 10-Second Psychological Game That Shows How Your Brain WorksPhoto: Marisol Benitez / Unsplash


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.

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Why do most people think about a carrot?

On the subreddit, r/psychologystudents, one user inquired about the carrot game. They asked, “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?”

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. But there's a reason why this game is called the carrot psychological game.


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.

As one user put it, “It is just that the task is constructed as an 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 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.

The human mind is like a filing cabinet, organizing information by importance, priority, and associations. "Prototypes," as they are referred to, are those preset associations that have been built over your lifetime that you draw on to answer questions and make assumptions in real time.


They make sense of and order your experiences, helping to set expectations and dictate actions. Without them, the world would be lost. But these prototypes are part of the magic of your mind.

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Because carrots are associated with healthy eating, and most people grew up eating this vegetable — remember the mixed carrots and peas served at lunch, or parents imploring you to eat your carrots if you wanted good vision? — it's no wonder these early connections cemented carrots as the vegetable in all of our minds.

Now, whenever we hear the word “vegetable,” a carrot comes to mind.


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.” Of course, the game doesn't work every single time.

The 10-Second Psychological Game That Shows How Your Brain WorksPhoto: Alliance Images / Shutterstock

There are some ideas about how your brain functions that can be taken from the vegetable you chose.

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 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're an independent thinker.

It means that you're 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, 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, entertainment and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.