Thinking Outside the Box

I read in Temple Grandin’s book (The Autistic Brain) this weekend that Aspies are good problem solvers because we don’t think ‘inside the box’, so to speak, like neurotypicals tend to do. In fact, it is believed that there is no box for the way that we think, which is why we can make connections between many seemingly unconnected pieces of information, which fuel our creative innovative-ness. This is backed up in neuroscience where fMRI neuroimaging scans of an autistic brain show many areas ‘lighting up’ in response to a particular task, whereas activity in the NT brain tends to be localised to fewer areas.

I shared this with my friend this weekend and it reminded him of a lateral thinking test he did at school when he was a teenager, where he was the only one who got it right. He gave it to me to do and said, “you literally have to think ‘outside the box’ to get it correct”. Naturally, he had me at ‘literally’.

It took me a couple of minutes, but I got it! So I want to share it with you also.

Grab a pen and paper and draw 9 dots as follows:


The rules are:

  1. You must connect ALL the dots with FOUR lines or less.
  2. You cannot take your pen off the paper.
  3. You cannot retrace the same line, so the next line starts where the last one ended.

Let me know how you get on in the comments but please don’t give it away for anyone 🙂

Does anyone know of any more tests like these?