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A Brain Game to Tease your Frontal Skills

The frontal lobes of the brain (in gray here) have been com­pared to an orches­tra con­duc­tor, ­influ­enc­ing, direct­ing, and mod­er­at­ing many oth­er brain func­tions. Indeed, the frontal lobes sup­port the so-called exec­u­tive func­tions: deci­sion-mak­ing, prob­lem-solv­ing, plan­ning, inhibit­ing, as well as oth­er high-lev­el func­tions (social behav­ior, emo­tion­al con­trol, work­ing mem­o­ry, etc.). Ready for an exec­u­tive work­out?

The func­tions of the frontal lobes are cru­cial for work and life in gen­er­al. How can we pre­serve and enhance these func­tions? Research tells us that cog­ni­tive or brain reserve (i.e., the brain’s resilience to pathol­o­gy) can be increased by men­tal exer­cise. Men­tal exer­cise has to be chal­leng­ing (to trig­ger the for­ma­tion of new synaps­es and neu­rons) and repeat­ed (a sin­gle teas­er will not affect your cog­ni­tive reserve but it is a good start!).

Here is an exam­ple of a chal­leng­ing exer­cise stim­u­lat­ing the func­tions of the frontal lobes. This teas­er will require you to: a) solve the mys­tery of the code by under­stand­ing the pro­vid­ed clue (prob­lem-solv­ing and inhi­bi­tion), b) decide on which strat­e­gy you will use to get back to the orig­i­nal mes­sage (deci­sion-mak­ing), and c) men­tal­ly trav­el the alpha­bet (work­ing mem­o­ry). Enjoy!

Can you deci­pher this mes­sage? You can leave your answer as a com­ment below.

Clue: Each let­ter in the orig­i­nal mes­sage (except the orange Y) has been replaced by anoth­er accord­ing to this rule: “Take each let­ter and replace it by the let­ter in the alpha­bet that is 3 posi­tions after it.”


J   R   R  G           M   R   E:        Y R  X          G  R        K  D  Y   H

D          E  U   D   L   Q !


Note: Do not write down the whole alpha­bet unless you real­ly need it.

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27 Responses

  1. I couldn’t do it. Do you plan to post ther answer after a few days? I’ll check back.

  2. Dr. Pascale Michelon says:

    Thanks for try­ing! Yes: We will post the answer on Mon­day.

  3. My guess: “Good job: You do have a brain!”

    Is it cor­rect?

  4. Helen says:

    Phillip, That’s what I got!

  5. ryan says:

    Good Job: You do have a brain!

  6. NUK says:

    Should have said the let­ter that is 3 posi­tions BEFORE it not after it 🙁

  7. kate says:

    The direc­tions say 3 posi­tions after let­ter, it should state before let­ter.

  8. Pete says:

    No, the instruc­tions are per­fect­ly cor­rect. They pro­vide the encryp­tion scheme and prop­er­ly denote it as such. Part of the chal­lenge is to real­ize what is being stat­ed and manip­u­late it into instruc­tions on how to decrypt.

  9. frank says:

    Good job you do have a brain.

  10. Tara says:

    Good job: You do have a brain!”

    Actu­al­ly, the direc­tions for the code stat­ed “replace with 3 let­ters after”. There­fore, to solve the code, you have to reverse the orig­i­nal direc­tions and use the let­ter “3 let­ters before”.

  11. nancy says:

    Um…the direc­tions are cor­rect. It says to replace the actu­al let­ter with anoth­er let­ter that is 3 after it.

  12. Unknown says:

    The instruc­tions need a brain LOL! The cor­rect let­ters are BEFORE not AFTER the giv­en let­ter no mat­ter what Pete says.

    IE: The first giv­en let­ter is J…AFTER J is M; BEFORE J is G. G is the cor­rect let­ter.

  13. jim says:

    what we have here is a fail­ure to com­mu­ni­cate

  14. Sean says:

    Clue: Each let­ter in the orig­i­nal mes­sage (except the orange Y) has been replaced by anoth­er accord­ing to this rule: ‘Take each let­ter and replace it by the let­ter in the alpha­bet that is 3 posi­tions after it.’ ” This states that the rule used to code it was: Replace the G with the let­ter 3 places after it, which would be J.

  15. mike says:

    When I tried 3 let­ters beyond I knew I was wrong by the first word. The key was the word “orig­i­nal” So I went back­wards and then I PEEKED !!! It was Fun , but it did trick me at first.

  16. D. says:

    good job you do have a brain

  17. Lynn says:

    Took a while but fig­ured it out…

    Good job you do have a brain”

  18. kfips says:

    Good Job Do You Have A Brain. Had to real­ly think about it but that’s it.

  19. kfips says:

    Sor­ry I mean good job you do have a brain.

  20. gloria says:

    Good Job
    You do have a brain

    It was easy to see that the sin­gle
    Undoubt­ed­ly, the giv­en Y was for you
    let­ter was an a
    That was key

    Not rock­et sci­ence

  21. genius says:

    good job you do have a brain!”
    didn’t scroll down — got it.
    good for me.

  22. Joyce says:

    Good Job: You do have a brain.

    You have to read and under­stand the instruc­tions;

    reminds me of a timed exam we had in High School: the instruc­tions said,“write your name in the space pro­vid­ed at the top of the page.Leave the rest of the pages blank.” There were 10 pages full of ques­tions, and a lim­it­ed time for the exam. About half the class wrote furi­ous­ly to fin­ish, and failed the exam: they just didn’t READ!!!!

  23. Mohammed Shamim says:

    One has to read the rule in the clue care­ful­ly then only it becomes easy to deci­pher.

    Good Job You Do Have A Brain

  24. Lio says:

    the answer is: “good job: you have a brain”
    …took me a while to fig­ure out by recit­ing the alpha­beth back and forth while keep the right let­ters in mind…

  25. kR1pt0n1t3 says:

    The instruc­tions are per­fect­ly done. For all those ppl that dont have brain it says “The ORIGINAL MESSAGE…” you know the msg you need to find out. That msg was encod­ed with rule… “Take each let­ter and replace it by the let­ter in the alpha­bet that is 3 posi­tions after it.” So based on that you need to go back 3 let­ters to get to where you were and not go after.

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