The Answer To This Jelly Bean Riddle Seems Simple, But Everybody Picks The Wrong One

By Editorial Staff in Puzzle On 22nd December 2016

#1 Good luck to you!

Let's get to the riddle!

#2 Imagine you're trapped in a forest and will only be let go if you eat the "safe" jelly bean from the tree stump.

One is okay to eat, and the other two are poisonous.

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#3 Got it? Seems simple enough, right?

#4 The person controlling the game asks you to randomly pick a jelly bean. Let's say you pick the green one.

He says that he'll take away one of the non-green jelly beans and he guarantees that the one he removes is poisonous.


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#5 You're now supposed to eat a jelly bean, and you can choose between the red and the green. WHICH DO YOU PICK?

#6 You've got only ten seconds!

#7 Do you have an answer?

#8 Well, you should have picked the red one.

Let's explain why

#9 Did you pick the green jelly bean?

Most people would figure they've got a 50/50 chance since they know that one jelly bean is poisonous and the other is not, but it's a little trickier than that.

#10 In fact, you should choose the red one because it's HALF as likely to be poisoned as the green one.

#11 The red one is the better choice when the blue one is removed.

#12 Here’s why:

When the green was selected, there was a 1 in 3 chance that it was safe. And a 2 in 3 chance it was poisonous.

When the blue one was removed, the green was still a 1 in 3 chance of being safe, but we learn more about the red one. Because the blue one was taken away, there's actually a 2 in 3 chance that the red one is safe.

So it's twice as likely to be safe and the better pick!

#13 It's a tricky one, isn't it?

Statistics don't lie, but they can be pretty confusing sometimes!