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Brain Workout for Your Frontal Lobes

Your frontal lobes are home to your executive functions, including pattern recognition. Here’s a puzzle to challenge your ability to uncover a pattern.

In this puzzle, three numbers: 16, 14, and 38, need to be assigned to one of the rows of numbers below. To which row should each number be assigned – A, B, or C?

A: 0 6 8 9 3
B: 5 13 2 10 16
C: 7 1 47 11 17

Why do we care about pattern recognition skills? Well, if you’re an athlete, then you want to constantly improve your ability to see spatial patterns on the court or field quickly so you can act on them – by passing to open space or attacking the goal at the right moment. Stock traders look for patterns in the market behavior to guide them on buying and selling decisions. Chess masters are experts at recognizing complicated moves. Reading is also pattern recognition.

So, you use pattern recognition all the time whether you know it or not. But remember, using a skill is great, but you have to keep exercising it a little bit harder each time to develop it further.

Have you solved the puzzle yet? If not, here’s a hint:
It’s not a mathematical problem. The numerical values are irrelevant.

Keep reading for the answer

The answer is that the numbers are organized by shape! Look at Row A – they are all rounded shapes. Row C is all linear shapes. And Row B is a mix of curves and lines. Therefore, 16 goes to B, 14 goes to C, and 38 goes to A.


PS: Enjoy these 50 brain teasers to test your cognitive ability. Free, and fun for adults of any age!

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7 Responses

  1. jjj says:

    yea…I did this problem in 7 seconds yet my IQ is 135. I guess that means …I have a good frontal lobe?

    I am generaly creative and can think of many possibilities to an answer…that is why I usually do badly on multiple choice because I see patterns that are ….possible, but not the ‘correct’ ones.

  2. jjj says:

    the frontal lobe if it doesn’t correlate with IQ must not have much relevence in today’s society? no, that would be wrong correct?

  3. Alvaro says:

    hello jjj,

    1) It is great that you see creative options (divergent thinking). You just need to complement that with convergent thinking to analyze alternatives and select the most likely one.

    2) IQ is a critical component of intelligence if you want to be an engineer or similar quantitative jobs. The frontal lobes allow you to understand your environment, adapt, set goals, plan, execute your plans…so they are critical for everything.

  4. Yomanda says:

    38 – a
    16 – b
    14 – c

  5. Julie says:

    I got the correct answers, but for entirely different reasons than stated above in the ‘answer’.
    I assigned the numbers (38,16,14) to letter rows already containing both digits of the numbers needing to be assigned.
    Did everyone else notice that?

  6. ab says:

    for some reason i just could not look at the numerical figures and assign similarities to them besides qualitative observations… which left me very confused. i guess being a math major was working against me

  7. rajesh says:

    @julie ….
    yes even i noticed the same thing…but somehow that pattern didnt felt that convincing

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