What Does Mary Do?
Human beings tend not to be very good at reasoning logically. It doesn't come
naturally to us. We make mistakes. Perhaps, though, you think that you're the
exception, a veritable cross between Garry Kasparov and Mr Spock (and not in the
sense of being a Russian chess player with big ears). If so, let's see how you
get on with this most simple of logic tests. If you can't get this right, then...
well maybe you're more a right rather than left brain hemisphere kind of person...*
Here's quite a lot about Mary
Mary Redgrave is 36 years old, not married, outspoken, opinionated and intelligent.
She was raised in Boston, Massachusetts, and completed a degree in sociology and
communications at a liberal arts college. Mary was active in student politics whilst
an undergraduate, being particularly concerned with issues to do with racism and
gender discrimination. She also took part in pro-choice, anti-nuclear, anti-poverty
and animal rights initiatives. In the present day, she remains concerned about these
things, but has extended her interests to include environmental issues such as renewable
energy and climate change.
There are four statements about Mary below. Your job is to rank how likely each
statement is to be true in relation to the other statements (so, for example, if
you think it is more likely that Mary is an executive for a housing charity than
a bank clerk, you'd rate this as being more likely on the scale). A value of
1 is most likely; 4 is least likely. You have to give a different ranking for each
of the four possibilities.
Mary is an executive for a housing charity
Mary is a bank clerk
Mary is an insurance salesperson
Mary is a bank clerk and remains active in the feminist movement
*The brain hemisphere thing is a joke: that's not actually how the lateralization
of brain function works!