8=56; What does 3=? Answer.

Posted on | October 4, 2013 | 16 Comments


There is a puzzle plaguing the very fabric of sanity on Facebook and the rest of social media. The debate over the answer rages on. For those here only looking for the answer, scroll down below the quote box. If you want to try to solve it first, stop reading now.

Solve if you are Genius!

3= ?

The answer is 3. If your timelines or feeds are like mine you have no doubt seen this puzzle. Another form of this quiz adds “9=72″ in the list of statements and replaces the cartoon Einstein with Calvin from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. Responses range from potential answers of 3, 6, 9, 14 and 42 (referring to The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy) to long debates and explanations of how they arrived at their answer. Most people agree on 6. An Internet search has yet to turn up the source of the problem. Apparently one iteration of this puzzle image has over 25,000 retweets on Twitter and over 16 million Twitpic views. It is a defining question of our generation!


As I stated above, the answer is 3. The reason is because the preceding statements are false statements to make you think there is a pattern to mislead you. 9 never equals 72, 8 never equals 56, and so on. 3 never equals anything other than 3. The problem doesn’t set up a premise by saying “If these statements are true then what does 3 equal?” It just presents you with incorrect answers and in an effort to solve the problem we look for a pattern. It’s similar to the kid’s word joke that leads you to the wrong answer so everyone can laugh at you.

Spell mop……
Spell hop…….
Spell pop…….
What do you do at a green light……..

Raise your hand if reading that you thought “stop” when of course the answer is “go”. It’s the same with the math problem, you are expecting to follow the pattern instead of paying attention to what you are being asked. It’s misdirection, magicians rely on it. Neil Strauss, author of The Game, demonstrates this idea using 3 coins.

Looking over the discussions, responses, and reasoning going on in these threads to try to make the answer be anything other than 3 and defending their own rationalizations, I realized it was sort of a mirror to the way we think. Even when presented with the logical answer we many times will ignore the logic, facts, and truths and argue the incorrect point we believe. We see this all the time. It reminds me of pretty much every political argument that has ever taken place. Even when presented with facts that counter their reality people will emotionally cling to the false belief or point and argue it until they are hoarse. It is something we all have done at one time or another.

Mitt Romney’s recent presidential campaign was famously guilty of this.

Mitt Romney’s campaign said on Tuesday that its ads attacking President Obama’s waiver policy on welfare have been its most effective to date. And while the spots have been roundly criticized as lacking any factual basis, the campaign said it didn’t really care.

“We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,” Romney pollster Neil Newhouse said at a panel organized by ABC News.

This is a different standard than the one Romney himself has held up for the election-season ad wars. Reacting to attacks by a pro-Obama super PAC, Romney recently told a radio station that “in the past, when people pointed out that something was inaccurate, why, campaigns pulled the ad.” Mitt Romney Campaign: We Will Not ‘Be Dictated By Fact-Checkers’

The point is, sometimes we need to take a step back, assess the situation and question what it is we are arguing and be open to the possibility that might be incorrect.

For example, this whole post could be me doing exactly what I observed others doing in defense of their answers. I could be incorrect about the answer being 3 but I’m not.

Keep calm I'm a genius

Because I’m genius.


Jaylon Carter is a blogger, social media marketing consultant, former Congressional Campaign Media & Communications Director, and a Hip Hop artist who performs under the stage name Timid (@timidmc). He also runs, a subscription newsletter informing parents of current happenings on the Internet.


16 Responses to “8=56; What does 3=? Answer.”

  1. OneTwoOneTwo
    October 4th, 2013 @ 11:11 am

    RT @IndiePundit: 8=56; What does 3=? Answer.:

  2. TimidMC
    October 4th, 2013 @ 11:11 am

    RT @IndiePundit: 8=56; What does 3=? Answer.:

  3. lokitone1
    October 6th, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

    “@IndiePundit: 8=56; What does 3=? Answer.:” This shit is crazy!!! I had 2 answers: 12 and 15…

  4. Diana M
    January 10th, 2014 @ 2:57 am

    The answer is 6

    8 (x 7) =56
    7 (x 6)=42
    6 (x 5)=30
    5 (x 4) =20

    3 (x 3) = 9 is the answer!

    Though one could argue that the answer could be 6
    3 (x 2)= 6 If one were to argue that the next logical starting number after 5 should have been 4 in which case then 4 (x 3)= 12 is missing and then 3 (x 2) = 6 would follow as the next logical step in the sequence

    But since no blank line is shown, I would lean more towards the correct answer being 9


  5. Diana M
    January 10th, 2014 @ 2:58 am

    Oops. Top line should say
    Correct answer is 9

  6. Jaylon Carter
    Twitter: IndiePundit

    February 3rd, 2014 @ 1:57 am

    Thanks for the reply. Diana you are making an assumption to fit a misleading pattern. The problem sets up false statements to confuse you. It doesn’t say 8 (x what) =56 it just says 8 = 56. That is a false statement to send you down the path that you are on so that you don’t see that 3 = 3.
    Jaylon Carter recently posted..8=56; What does 3=? Answer.My Profile

  7. Navigator
    February 24th, 2014 @ 10:49 am

    “Has ‘genius’ been redefined?”

    As demonstrated here and by the comments we’re left to figure out what the originator intended. Analytics might wonder where is 4=?. Perhaps what we have here really is 4*3=12 with the 4 being unstated, so 3 = 12. Kindergartners will say two wrongs, or in this case 4 wrongs, do not make a right. We all know 8 does not equal 56 and 7 does not equal 42. So of course 3 = 3. Or perhaps majority rules even to the point of determining what the rules actually are, so then the answer from the stream looks to be 6. Yet, if majority is the answer am left to ponder “Has ‘genius’ been redefined?”

  8. Jaylon Carter
    Twitter: IndiePundit

    February 25th, 2014 @ 9:15 am

    I think in both the usage of “genius” in my response and the original challenge is tongue-in-cheek. I even left that door open saying that I possibly could be guilty of defending an incorrect premise but I don’t think so. The wording doesn’t say “what if” or “let”s say”. In my view, it presents several incorrect statements attempting to mislead the challenger. The “genius” will recognize this as the case and ignore them.

  9. seriously
    April 9th, 2014 @ 2:45 pm

    3 is the most stupidest of all the possible answers…yes, most stupidest. There are multiple answers and that is the answer. It would not be logical to assume there are misstatements in a quiz. 8=56 etc cannot be false in the context of asking a question. If there is an error in the question figuring the correct answer could only be random. 3 is the childish silly answer. Any answer can be correct, even “undefined” or “wheels on a tricycle”

  10. Jaylon Carter
    Twitter: IndiePundit

    April 13th, 2014 @ 9:08 pm

    8=56 is false when asking a question without the conditional “if”.

  11. Boyan
    July 1st, 2014 @ 5:53 am

    Simplest is: x=x*x-x

    When you assume ‘what if 8=56′ etc.

    The answer is 6 also when you visualize numbers so that the number on right is divided by the number under it on left, e.g. 56/7.

    So, you get this:


    And proof is: x=x*(x-1)/(x-1)

    E.g. 6=30/5 or 6=6*5/5

    Meaning x=x


  12. Jaylon Carter
    Twitter: IndiePundit

    July 3rd, 2014 @ 8:57 pm

    That’s my point Boyan. It doesn’t say “assume that” or “what if” that’s why it’s a riddle because people will automatically make the false assumption. Thanks for your comment.

  13. taksh
    September 16th, 2014 @ 12:40 pm

    3=6 is the and because 8=56-14=7=42-12=30………..so3=6

  14. Dennis B.
    September 29th, 2014 @ 3:16 pm

    x(x-1) applies to all lines.
    9*9-9 = 72
    8*8-8 = 56
    7*7-7 = 42
    6*6-6 = 30
    5*5-5 = 20
    3*3-3 = 6

  15. 山形ジロー
    February 18th, 2015 @ 8:17 am








  16. 山形ジロー
    February 18th, 2015 @ 8:28 am





    9=72 9×8=72・・・9:72
    8=56 8×7=56・・・8:56
    7=42 7×6=42・・・7:42
    6=30 6×5=30・・・6:30
    5=20 5×4=20・・・5:20
    3=?  【4×3=12・・3:72・・12+60=72】


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