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The correct solution, however, requires you to draw lines that extend beyond the area defined by the dots.
At the first stages, all the participants in Guilford’s original study censored their own thinking by limiting the possible solutions to those within the imaginary square (even those who eventually solved the puzzle).
He challenged research subjects to connect all nine dots using just four straight lines without lifting their pencils from the page.
Today many people are familiar with this puzzle and its solution.
Only 20 percent managed to break out of the illusory confinement and continue their lines in the white space surrounding the dots.
Most people assume that 60 percent to 90 percent of the group given the clue would solve the puzzle easily. What’s more, in statistical terms, this 5 percent improvement over the subjects of Guilford’s original study is insignificant.
In other words, the difference could easily be due to what statisticians call sampling error.
Let’s look a little more closely at these surprising results.
Solving this problem requires people to literally think outside the box.