Feb 9, 2008
Do you know where words are stored in your brain…?
In your temporal lobe! (in green on this profile view of the right side of your brain).
As you know your brain has two sides (two hemispheres) connected by the corpus callosum. So you have one temporal lobe on each side of the brain.
If you are right-handed, your language is stored mostly in your left temporal lobe. If you are left-handed, you are not so lateralized and your language is stored a bit on both sides of your brain in the temporal lobes.
Words in the brain are not stored randomly. They seemed to be quite organized. Research has shown that words that are often heard together (such as salt and pepper) or words that share some meaning (such as nurse and doctor) are connected or associated in the brain. Once you hear one, the other is activated.
Here is a brain exercise whose aim is to stimulate the connections or associations between words in your temporal lobe.
In the left column you have a pair of words. Your goal is to find a third word that is connected or associated with both of these two words.
The first pair is PIANO and LOCK. The answer is KEY. The word key is connected with both the word piano and the word lock: there are KEYS on a piano and you use a KEY to lock doors.
Key is what is called a homograph: a word that has more than one meaning but is always spelled the same.
Ready to stimulate connections in your temporal lobe(s)? Enjoy! (Solutions are below. Please don’t check them until you have tried to solve all the pairs!)
1. LOCK — PIANO
2. SHIP — CARD
3. TREE — CAR
4. SCHOOL — EYE
5. PILLOW — COURT
6. RIVER — MONEY
7. BED — PAPER
8. ARMY — WATER
9. TENNIS — NOISE
10. EGYPTIAN — MOTHER
11. SMOKER — PLUMBER
— This article was written by Pascale Michelon, Ph. D., for SharpBrains.com. Dr. Michelon has a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology and has worked as a Research Scientist at Washington University in Saint Louis, in the Psychology Department. She conducted several research projects to understand how the brain makes use of visual information and memorizes facts. She is now an Adjunct Faculty at Washington University, and teaches Memory Workshops in numerous retirement communities in the St Louis area.
1. LOCK - PIANO > KEY
2. SHIP — CARD > Deck
3. TREE — CAR > Trunk
4. SCHOOL - EYE > Pupil (Exam and Private are also possible)
5. PILLOW - COURT > Case
6. RIVER — MONEY > Bank (Flow is also possible)
7. BED — PAPER > Sheet
8. ARMY — WATER > Tank
9. TENNIS — NOISE > Racket
10. EGYPTIAN — MOTHER > Mummy
11. SMOKER — PLUMBER > Pipe