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Clue: Each let­ter in the orig­i­nal mes­sage (except the orange Y) has been replaced by anoth­er accord­ing to this rule: “Take each let­ter and replace it by the let­ter in the alpha­bet that is 3 posi­tions after it.”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

    Good job: You do have a brain.

    The direc­tions are cor­rect.

    The direc­tions were speak­ing to the per­son who ENCODED the orig­i­nal mes­sage. Because we are DECODING the mes­sage that is “in code”, we have to do the reverse of what the direc­tions say.

  2. Mrs. Life says:

    Ah okay, had to re-read the direc­tions mul­ti­ple times before I final­ly got it. Man, I need to brush up on more men­tal exer­cisea if I’m get­ting this dim.

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