“A great resource for finding “mind games,” or what’s popularly know as “brain training,” is the website of SharpBrains, a company that tracks health and wellness applications of brain science. Its founder and CEO, Alvaro Fernandez, writes in his blog that, “Anything we do involving novelty, variety and challenge stimulates the brain and can contribute to building capacity and brain reserve.”
Walking, eating, discussing a book…all of these things seem very natural and easy, but in truth, each and every one is done through a series of functions that the brain performs. In order to really understand the abilities of the brain, as well as the limitations, you can certainly try these brain teasers…but it is also important to look at some of the things you probably didn’t know about.
First of all, what is cognition? Cognition has to do with how a person understands and acts in the world. It is a set of mental processes that are part of nearly every human action. For instance, answering the telephone involves perception (hearing the ring tone), decision taking (answering or not), motor skill (lifting the receiver), language skills (listening and talking), social skills (interpreting tone of voice and interacting properly).
Cognitive abilities are supported by specific neuronal networks and brain structures. For instance memory skills rely mainly on parts of the temporal lobes and parts of the frontal lobes (behind the forehead). In the article What are Cognitive Abilities and Skills? you can find good explanation and examples, together with stimulating brain teasers to exercise the cognitive abilities described. Learn, and have fun!
Are the two orange circles of the same size? One way to understand more about the brain is to look at how we can trick it, that is, to look at how the brain reacts to teasers and visual illusions.
Here are 10 visual illusions to combine fun and learning about the visual system. We know you know there is a trick since these are illusions… but don’t try to be smarter than your brain: Just enjoyed being surprised!
Do we all have “attention deficits”? Or is there something else going on? Let’s try this little experiment, conceived by Simons and Chabris for their classic study on sustained inattentional blindness.
Below you can watch a brief video clip, and your challenge is to count the total number of times that the basketballs change hands.