The problem of cognitive style
How are a pair of scissors and a copper pan alike?
One point answer: They are both household utensils.
Two point answer: They are both made of metal.
Why is the second worth more than the first?
Which doesn't belong: clam, pig, oven, rose.
The correct answer is the oven, because the rest are living things.
But a child may say rose, since the others relate to making dinner.
Or the clam, since clams live in the water, and the rest live on land.
Not only can different answers reflect different social or cultural backgrounds; they may also reflect originality and novel outlook.
In certain IQ tests, the child is given two points for "categorical" answers, one point for "descriptive" answers, but no points for "relational" answers. So, in response to "How are a cat and a mouse alike?" you get two points for "they are both animals," one point for "they both have tails," and nothing at all if you say "they both live in houses."
With drawings of a boy, an old man, and a woman (the latter two wearing hats), children were asked "Which go together?" "Good" answers include the boy and the man, because they are both male, or the man and the woman because they are both adults. Less points are awarded to "the man and the woman, because they are both wearing hats." and no points are gained for "the boy and the old man, because the boy can help the old man walk," which strikes me as the most creative answer!
The most important of all the confusing variables, I believe, is the problem of disembedded thought. Disembedded thought is Margaret Donaldson's term for thought that takes place in a contextual vacuum: It takes years of practice to get to a point where one is comfortable with abstract questions. Answering what appear to be meaningless questions is rejected by people of many cultures, by most young children, and by many people with different "cognitive styles." It is, in fact, a talent peculiar to us (i.e. educated western adults, and a few others). Many others will spend their creative energies not at solving the problem, but at trying to figure out why you would ask such a strange question to begin with.