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Brain Games: Spot the Difference

How many differences can you spot?

You have seen and maybe tried that exercise or game in the Sunday paper many times: find 5 differences between the two images.

You may like it or not. You may think it is only for kids. But it is a GREAT brain exercise!

Let’s see what cognitive processes and which brain areas are involved in this exercise:

– You have to identify the objects that you see: this involves your occipital lobes brain color(in red, below)
– You have to analyzed the spatial relationships between the objects that you see: this involves your occipital and parietal (in green) lobes
– You have to remember what you see in one picture and compare it to what you see in the other picture, that is you have to use your short-term memory: this involves your frontal (in blue) and parietal lobes
– You have to mark down the locations where you see a difference: this involves mostly your frontal lobes (for the movement)

Did you realize that so much was going on in your brain during that seemingly simple exercise?

I bet not! So why not give it a try??

Can you find 5 differences between the two pictures below?

spot the difference brain teaser

spot the difference brain teaser

You can enjoy these additional Brain Teasers.

Pascale Michelon— This article was written by Pascale Michelon, Ph. D., for Dr. Michelon, Copyright 2008. 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.

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16 Responses

  1. R Keene says:

    It is very easy if you can go cross-eyed and merge the two pictures visually. It took me about 5 seconds to find all the differences. There is an additional difference where the vertical sign in the middle has a whiter edge in the left picture. Also just over the woman’s head that is in front of the store there is a single darker pixel.

  2. J. Cardinal says:

    Thank you for the information on areas of the brain involved in this exercise! Without knowing what was happening in the brain, I felt that this game was a good way to help someone focus their attention.

    I teach mathematics at a technical high school in a mid-sized city. Last year I began giving ‘Find the Differences’ puzzles to my students as an opening exercise. They loved it!

    I was happy simply because the students were focused on work. However, I was unsure what the administration would have felt about this exercise in a high school. Now that I know so much is happening in the brain, I will hang a copy of this information in my classroom for all to see and learn!

  3. Alvaro says:

    Very good idea to use exercises like this to open the class. As you point out, it serves as a great transition into a more focused mindset.

    Pascale will be happy to see this teaser is making it into your classroom wall 🙂

  4. denise says:

    Thanks for a fun puzzle. This is very much like the trouble with proofreading: My mind tends to “fill in” the missing parts, making them hard to notice — and yet how clearly they stand out once I spot them! I haven’t mastered R Keene’s cross-eyed trick, so it took me longer than 5 seconds…

  5. Michealson says:

    Yes, I love all puzzles only because they help my brain focus and exercise, I love psychology, anyways, like R Keene said about the woman I noticed that her left arm(the one that is stretched out) her white clothing is hanging differently the bottom one has more of it hanging than the top, I thought that was one of the changes so I finished but was dissapointed to find out I was wrong, anyways I just wanted to point that one out in case no one saw that.

  6. Michealson says:

    OH! and if you or anyone else has any usefull websites about philosophers and/or psychologist, please let me know, and I mean any, famous or not, I love learning about others, it helps me get an understanding of basic human instint(I’m only 15 but for my summer break I finally have time to research about it on others to get a better understanding myself) anyways thank you for the sites!!!

  7. jt91495 says:

    i cannot do the crosseyed thing but i still got it but it took 2 minutes to find all of them

  8. jt91495 says:

    And michealson is right i thought that is what it was too

  9. Alvaro says:

    Hello Michaelson,

    Encephalon blog carnival is a great entry point into excellent psychology and neuroscience blogs, you can check the most recent edition here


  10. Hello everybody,
    I did not touch the woman’s clothing when I prepared the pictures… I checked by blowing the 2 pictures up and I still can’t see the differences that you guys are talking about… anyway! I did make our brains work!!

  11. At least I now know that these are good for my kids (who love them).

  12. stacey says:

    in one picture (top) the woman is looking straigt ahead, the other she is looking up

  13. Tyler says:

    Thanks for the game, my brain needed the practise 😀

  14. W P says:

    Riiight a “darker” pixel is part of the change lol.. oh hey look I just saw 999999999 changes due to the displacement of air molecules lol..

  15. W P says:

    You guys need to stop making up bonus changes that you think you see.
    There are five and five only..

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