# Defying cognitive economy: Can you solve this deceivingly simple math puzzle circulating on TikTok?

10:38 AM EST, January 26, 2024

Mathematics is often referred to as the queen of sciences. However, it's safe to say that most of us don't have fond memories of learning this extraordinary subject, mainly due to its inherent challenges. The human brain tends to avoid strenuous mental effort - a phenomenon known as cognitive economy. Simply put, we unconsciously simplify anything that seems overly complicated.

This is perhaps why so many people have an aversion to math. Nevertheless, it can be quite rewarding to put in some effort and solve a problem occasionally. **Can you find the correct solution to the above equation? **Despite the impression of simplicity, very few can work it out rightly.

## Can you solve 60÷2(3+7)? Provide the correct solution

Despite its reputation, TikTok can actually be an educational platform. A user who goes by the name @redpillhenny specialises in uploading math puzzles. Most of these should be manageable for a student in grade 6-8. Despite this, many users, particularly adults who finished school years ago, confess that they struggle with these puzzles.

One of the recent tasks proved particularly challenging for many users, yielding a variety of answers. **The equation was: 60÷2(3+7)**. The most popular solutions were 5, 40, and even 300. But what's the correct answer? Let's break it down.

## The Key to Success: Understanding the Order of Operations

First things first, we need to consider the order of operations. We start with what's inside the brackets. **Once we've determined the calculation in the brackets, we proceed to exponentiation, multiplication or division, and then addition or subtraction if necessary**.

In our example, we have addition inside the brackets. The result **results in the number 10**. This simplifies our equation to 60÷2(10). However, the presence of the brackets, even with only one number, can complicate matters. Although brackets denote multiplication, the notation 2(10) **does not equate to 2×10**. The brackets form an inseparable element with the two and the ten. We must simplify this element into one number before we continue to the next calculation. Therefore, if we divided 60÷2 first and then multiplied by 10, the answer would incorrectly be 300.

So, what's the correct solution? If we **multiply 2(10)**, we get 20. This simplifies the equation to 60÷20. This calculation should now be straightforward and the correct result is 3.