Usher Game

Subconsciously, we’re all mathematics geniuses !


On your screen, pairs of randomly chosen numbers will appear very fast. All numbers on the left side belong to a group, all those on the right side belong to another group. The purpose of the game is to chose which group of numbers, left or right, yields the highest average. Given the speed at which numbers are being flashed, you won’t be able to consciously realize what is happening, nor memorise the numbers and achieve any mental arithmetic. In order to make a decision, you’ll have to rely on your intuition.

First, the game shows you one pair of numbers every 250 msec ; at some point, the display will become three times faster (12 pairs of numbers every second) ; and as you play, that speed will increase until you can barely see the numbers on the screen. To make things worse, the size of the groups of numbers will also go up. From 6 at the beginning, the number of pairs will step up to 12, 24, then 48.

« To make things worse », really ? Well, not so sure…

The little twist of the game

Contrary to the other games, this one puts you in a situation where you’re not blind to the solution. Said differently, vous have access to information which you could in theory analyze, although it’s very fast, without consciously knowing. On of the challenges of this game is to avoid trying to calculate. Indeed, scientific experiments have shown that you will be, on average, much closer to the real answer by using to gut feeling rather than by trying to memorize the numbers and to mentally compute their mean. For instance, a study showed that when 6 pairs of numbers were flashed to players, their choice was correct 65% of times. And when there were 24 pairs, their hit rate would jump to 90% !

Therefore, the larger the amount of information to proceed, the better the results ! Actually, the faster and the more complex the game, the simpler it is ! To accomplish highly complex tasks in a record time, our brains are way more efficient when we give it free rein ! That’s one area of strength of intuition !

So, trust your subconscious and your intuition : just indicate which sequence of numbers you « feel » as being the right one.

Why Usher ?

This game replicates an experiment designed by Marius Usher, researcher at the Psychological Sciences Department of the university of Tel Aviv, who has investigated for years the process of decision-making.

Everyday we face choices and make decisions. Yet, this process still is poorly known. What prompts us to choose this option rather than another ? What’s the role played by intuition versus reasoning in the decision-making process ? Whereas the old adage advises us to « think twice before acting », studies of professor Usher have shown that when a person is confronted to a large quanitity of information, his or her intuition is by far the most reliable method to make the right choice.

In the original experiments, two columns of numbers (stock-market quotations) were scrolling very rapidly on a screen and the subject had to say which column was associated to the largest gains. The subjects were able to correctly evaluate the groups of numbers almost instantly and with a success rate far exceeding chance level.

These results compel us to conclude that, the faster and more complicated for the intellect, the easier for the intuition !

Download "Classics Edition - Intuition Games" (soon...)