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#13. Brain teaser to exercise your cognitive skills: Where do words go?

Temporal lobe Frontal LobeWords are stored in the tem­po­ral lobe of your brain (in green on the cere­bral cor­tex image  to the left). But on which brain hemi­sphere, right or left? As you know, your brain has two sides (two hemi­spheres) con­nected by the cor­pus cal­lo­sum. You have one tem­po­ral lobe on each side of the brain.

If you are right-hand­ed, your lan­guage is stored most­ly in your left tem­po­ral lobe. If you are left-hand­ed, you are not so lat­er­al­ized and your lan­guage is stored a bit on both sides of your brain, in the tem­po­ral lobes. Also, words that are often heard togeth­er (such as salt and pep­per) or words that share some mean­ing (such as nurse and doc­tor) are con­nected or asso­ci­ated in the brain. Once you hear one, the oth­er is often acti­vat­ed.

Here is a brain teas­er whose aim is to stim­u­late the con­nec­tions or asso­ci­a­tions between words in your tem­po­ral lobe. You will see pairs of words, and your goal is to find a third word that is con­nected or asso­ci­ated with both of these two words.

For exam­ple, 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(s)? Enjoy! (Solu­tions are below. Please don’t check them until you have tried to solve all the pairs!)

1. LOCK — PIANO

2. SHIP — CARD

3. TREE — CAR

4. SCHOOL — EYE

5. PILLOW — COURT

6. RIVER — MONEY

7. BED — PAPER

8. ARMY — WATER

9. TENNIS — NOISE

10. EGYPTIAN — MOTHER

11. SMOKER — PLUMBER

Pascale Michelon— Pas­cale Mich­e­lon, PhD is a sci­en­tist, edu­ca­tor, and con­tribut­ing author to “The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness: How to Opti­mize Brain Health and Per­for­mance at Any Age” (April 2013; 284 pages).

SOLUTIONS

1. LOCK — PIANO > KEY

2. SHIP — CARD > Deck

3. TREE — CAR > Trunk

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

5. PILLOW — COURT > Case

6. RIVER — MONEY > Bank (Flow is also pos­si­ble)

7. BED — PAPER > Sheet

8. ARMY — WATER > Tank

9. TENNIS — NOISE > Rack­et

10. EGYPTIAN — MOTHER > Mum­my

11. SMOKER — PLUMBER > Pipe

 

Next brain teas­er in Sharp­Brains’ top 25 series:

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3 Responses

  1. Elizabeth Shanta says:

    Able to deal quick­ly with the major­i­ty of pairs, strug­gled with with “ten­nis-noise”.

  2. David Perkins says:

    It’s rac­quet not rack­et. What the hell is rack­et?

  3. Jan says:

    I don’t get num­ber 3. Is it because I speak British?

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