Words are stored in the temporal lobe of your brain (in green on the cerebral cortex image to the right). 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, 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).
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 > Racquet
10. EGYPTIAN — MOTHER > Mummy
11. SMOKER — PLUMBER > Pipe
Next brain teaser in SharpBrains’ top 25 series:
- #14. Join this party for polyglots