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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Brain Teasers to Exercise Our Minds: Our Top Five

Here you have 4 of the most popular brain games in our blog, plus a bonus stress management tip.

Brain Teaser 1. In which direction is the bus pictured below traveling?


Do you know the answer?

The only possible answers are “left” or “right.”

Still don’t know?

When pre-school children were shown this picture and question, they all answered “left.” When asked why, they answered “Because you can’t see the door.”

Believe it or not, this simple teaser generated a very lively controversy with over  50 comments…some of my favorites “I’ve been looking at the bus for a long time now and it is not moving at all” (Peter), “Fools! It is falling, because there is no ground under it! How’s that for logic? (Richard), and “I would like to reiterate that this drawing looks like a UFO, and could, therefore, be moving in any direction” (todios).

Brain Teaser 2. You think you know the colors?

Young-old Quick! say aloud what color you see in every word, NOT the word you read.
Not that easy, right?

The Stroop test is used in neuropsychological evaluations to measure mental vitality and flexibility, since performing well requires strong inhibition capacity.

Brain Teaser 3. Can You Pay Attention?

basketballPlease try this fun experiment. You will watch a brief video clip showing two teams, and your challenge is to count the number of passes made by the team in white.

Click Here to view the Basketball Experiment clip.

Brain Teaser 4.  Find the Homographs

Dr. Pascale Michelon created this one. In the column below you have five pairs 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? Enjoy! (Solutions are at the bottom of the post. Please don’t check them until you have tried to solve all the pairs!)



3. TREE –  CAR



Brain Teaser 5. Have We Stressed You Out?

Here is a very quick test to determine your stress level now. Read the following description completely before looking at the picture.

The picture below was used in a case study on stress levels at St. Mary’s Hospital. Look at both dolphins jumping out of the water. The dolphins are identical. A closely monitored, scientific study revealed that, in spite of the fact that the dolphins are identical, a person under stress would find differences between the two dolphins. The more differences a person finds between the dolphins, the more stress that person is experiencing.

Look at the photograph, and if you find more than one or two differences, you may want to take a vacation or at least get a massage.

Click here to see the picture before reading more.


Solutions to Brain Game 4:


2. SHIP – CARD > Deck

3. TREE – CAR > Trunk

4. SCHOOL – EYE > Pupil (Exam and Private are also possible)

5. PILLOW – COURT > Case

If you liked this exercise, you can find more pairs of words at Words in your brain.


I hope you are having a great weekend! How did you do?

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16 Responses

  1. James says:

    For the 4th brain game number 2: Ship – Card
    another answer is “Dealer” (dealership, card dealer)

  2. Doug Kyle says:

    Very fun post! For Brain Game #4, I’d also submit “Park” for the relation between Tree and Car… but perhaps only for geographies that call parking garages “Car Parks”.

  3. Gabrielle says:

    Ship – card = board?

  4. Gabrielle says:

    I would never be able to answer the bus question because in my home city, buses have doors on both sides.

  5. Sharif says:

    The bus looks like it going away from you and you are looking at the taillights. And am I the only one that sees a cow in the picture with dolphin? I do get massage every other week…matbe should change to once a week.

  6. Alvaro says:

    Sharif, do please let us know if a weekly massage helps you see otherwise…

  7. Catherine says:

    The first word that popped into my head with ‘pillow – court’ was ‘SHAM’! I’m not a cynical person, I do have a reasonable level of belief in our justice system. (Really.) It was just my sense of wordplay humor indulging a biting moment.

  8. Martin says:

    Very good, Catherine. I like that!

  9. Jim says:

    The ship – card connection could also be “hold”

  10. Jim says:

    … and what’s this bogus story about the door not showing? The bus has no driver!

  11. Grace says:

    My initial answer to what direction the bus was travelling was ‘forward’.

  12. Suni Mills says:

    I am a teacher who is teaching about brain developement. I have no budget so look for free information on the net.

  13. Juanita says:

    I love this site!

  14. serena says:

    I said not traveling — the wheels aren’t connected.

  15. serena says:

    For word pairs 2-4 I got other answers that work: board, phone, and fish.

  16. AB says:

    for school and eye, you can also use the word “bag”.

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