Jumping to conclusions, part 2: correct answers to the Cash Register Test

Last week I posed a challenge to my readers: to have a go at “The Cash Register Exercise“, an uncritical inference test. I promised to divulge the correct answers yesterday, but unfortunately circumstances intervened and prevented me from doing so, and so, with my apologies, I post them today.

For those of you who missed last week’s post, I repeat the instructions and the exercise here:

To complete the exercise, read the following story. Below it are 12 statements about the story. After you read the story, determine whether each of the 12 statements is

  • T – true;
  • F – false ; or
  • ? – you do not have enough information to determine whether the statement is true or false

Allow yourself no more than 5 minutes to complete the exercise. Ready? Here goes:

The Cash Register Exercise

The Story

A businessman had just turned off the lights in the store when a man appeared and demanded money. The owner opened a cash register. The contents of the cash register were scooped up, and the man sped away. A member of the police force was notified promptly.

12 Statements about the Story

  1. A man appeared after the owner had turned off his store lights.
  2. The robber was a man.
  3. The man did not demand money.
  4. The man who opened the cash register was the owner.
  5. The store owner scooped up the contents of the cash register and ran away.
  6. Someone opened a cash register.
  7. After the man who demanded the money scooped up the contents of the cash register, he ran away.
  8. While the cash register contained money, the story does not state how much.
  9. The robber demanded money of the owner.
  10. It was broad daylight when the man appeared.
  11. The story concerns a series of events in which only three persons are referred to: the owner of the store, a man who demanded money, and a member of the police force.
  12. The following events in the story are true: someone demanded money, a cash register was opened, its contents were scooped up, and a man dashed out of the store.

Correct Answers for the Cash Register Exercise

I warned readers that only twice when I’ve conducted this exercise has anyone gotten every answer right.

I provide the answer key on the right within this post, displayed upside down so as not to spoil things for those of you still trying to figure it out. To see the text right-side up, you can either turn your computer screen upside down (just kidding) or simply place your cursor over the answer key and the answer will appear as alt-text.

3 responses to “Jumping to conclusions, part 2: correct answers to the Cash Register Test

  1. Great post. It really highlights how quickly we make assumptions.

    Thanks!

  2. I will be interested in some explanations.

  3. You said you wanted to know if anyone got them all right: I did.