Heredity Quizzes

I love heredity quizzes. Heredity, as in:

A property of a space which is also true of each of its subspaces. Being “countable” is hereditary… (from MathWorld)


They look something like this:

  1. Mr. Brown drives a blue Beetle and does not have a neighbor to the north of his house.
  2. Mr. White drives the only white car and has two neighbors who drive black cars.
  3. etc., etc.

Eventually, given enough clues and with enough deduction, you can figure out who drives what and lives next to whom. They’re meaningless math quizzes that play out like mental Rubick’s cubes.

Another such quiz I stumbled upon recently is called the Self-Referential Aptitude Test. It’s a genius little quiz that contains 20 questions, all of which can be eventually answered by culling information from other questions in the test. So no studying would prepare you for such a test, except for other logic tests I suppose. Here’s an example of a few of the questions, along with my deduction in red.

5. The answer (singular tense) to this question is the same as the answer to question
(A) 1 can’t be this answer and E
(B) 2 can’t be this answer and E
(C) 3 can’t be this answer and E
(D) 4 can’t be this answer and E
(E) 5 the only option that will always be true

…and so forth. I think I love these type of questions because they require so much concentration. The joy of finding a unique solution to them is part of the fun.


It occurred to me that the show Lost is a great example of an heredity quiz. As the show progresses, we realize that these disparate people are actually intricately interconnected. Figuring out the grand purpose behind those connections is the fun of the challenge. There’s great graphical map of these character connections on a Lost fan site that is pretty accurate. Don’t click if you haven’t been watching the show.

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