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Psychology Politics · 8 March 2011 ·

How can this be...?

A man and his son were away for a trip. They were driving along the highway when they had a terrible accident. The man was killed outright but the son was alive, although badly injured. The son was rushed to the hospital and was to have an emergency operation. On entering the operating theatre, the surgeon looked at the boy, and said, “I can’t do this operation. This boy is my son.” How can this be?

(Source: Sanford, A. J. (1985). Cognition and cognitive psychology. London:Weidenfeld and Nicolson.)

Hint: The answer is actually very, very simple (yet quite a few people will get this wrong) and is related to today’s date.

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Previous comments

  1. Lara wrote on 11 April 2011, 18:29

    The surgeon is the mother, right?

  2. Christian Kliesch wrote on 12 April 2011, 14:07

    Indeed, it is.

    There is no reason why it shouldn’t be a female surgeon, yet many people will make this (false) assumption.