Mathematical puzzles have the ability to captivate us with their challenges and stimulate our problem-solving skills. They often become viral sensations due to their seemingly simple yet complex nature. In this article, we will delve into why some mathematical puzzles go viral, the importance of analysis and deduction in solving these puzzles, and how neurotransmitters can impact our mathematical abilities.

## The Allure of Mathematical Puzzles

Mathematical puzzles are admired for their ability to engage our minds and test our problem-solving abilities. They gain popularity and go viral because they present challenges that appear deceptively simple yet require careful thought to solve. For example, a recent middle school level mathematical puzzle perplexed many internet users between the ages of 20 and 30.

This particular puzzle involved basic arithmetic operations, but it stumped a significant number of individuals. However, by applying fundamental mathematical rules and understanding the order of operations, the solution was not as difficult to find. The key to solving this puzzle was identifying the correct order of operations and having a solid grasp of basic mathematical principles.

## The Importance of Analysis and Deduction

Mathematical puzzles often place emphasis on our ability to analyze and deduce information rather than rely solely on our mathematical knowledge. These skills are crucial for solving complex problems and are also evaluated in IQ tests.

Consider the following example of a mathematical puzzle: a sequence of four numbers is presented, and the challenge is to determine the fifth number where the question mark is located. To solve this puzzle, logic and analysis are necessary. By carefully examining the sequence and searching for patterns or relationships between the numbers, one can find the solution.

## Mathematical Skills and Personality

Mathematical puzzles can offer insights into our personality traits and how others perceive us. By understanding how we approach and solve problems, we can gain a better understanding of our strengths, weaknesses, and how we interact with others.

The scientific community has also explored the correlation between mathematical abilities and biological factors. Researchers have questioned whether math teachers and arithmetic geniuses may have a biological advantage. In one study, cognitive neuroscience researchers from the University of Oxford examined the concentrations of two key neurotransmitters involved in learning, GABA and glutamate, to determine if they could predict future mathematical skills.

GABA and glutamate are natural amino acids that play complementary roles in the brain. GABA inhibits or reduces the activity of neurons, while glutamate increases neuronal activity. The levels of these neurotransmitters fluctuate throughout life. The study found a link between mathematical skills and neurotransmitter levels and observed that these levels change as children grow and become adults. These findings were published in the journal PLOS Biology.

## Try It Yourself: Solve the Puzzle

Now, it’s time to put your skills to the test. Try to solve the number puzzle presented above and challenge your friends or colleagues. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find the answer right away, as only a few people are able to solve this puzzle. The solution will be provided later, but try to answer it on your own first.

## Here Is the Answer

When approaching this puzzle, it is crucial to adopt a pragmatic approach and identify the priority operations. According to the fourth-grade mathematics curriculum, multiplication and division should be performed before addition and subtraction. Therefore, performing additions and subtractions in a linear manner, such as 9 – 3, then 6 – (1/3), and finally 18 + 1, would lead to incorrect results, as most internet users discovered.

However, the question remains regarding the fraction. How should its division be done? In reality, a method called “inverse multiplication” should be employed. The numerator should be multiplied by the denominator, which in this case is also equal to 3. Thus, the expression becomes (9 – 3×3 + 1). Afterward, it is simply a matter of multiplying the numerators and denominators.