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Mental rotation exercise to challenge your brain’s parietal lobe over the holidays

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Mental rotation refers to moving things around in your mind. It is one of the main visuospatial skills we all have…in different degrees, yes.

Here’s an exam­ple. Please pic­ture in your mind an arrow point­ing to the right. Now, turn this arrow so it points to the left. Done? You have just per­formed a men­tal rota­tion.

Brain Lobes

Although it is rare to consciously imagine objects moving, we use this cognitive abil­ity when reading maps, using tools, playing chess, arranging fur­ni­ture, driving in traf­fic, etc. Men­tal rota­tion relies mostly on the pari­etal areas of your brain (yellow sec­tion in the brain image to the right).

Here is a mental exer­cise to stim­u­late your men­tal rota­tion skills.

  • The top shape is your model.
  • Among the 3 shapes below the model, only one matches the model. To figure out which one does, you will probably have to move the shapes around in your mind.
  • Move the shapes from left to right or right to left but DO NOT FLIP them around.

First set

Second set

Third Set

Answers:

First set: The second shape matches the model.

Second set: The second shape matches the model.

Third set: The first shape matches the model.

Pascale MichelonPascale 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.

For more fun mental exercise, try these Top 25 Brain Teasers, Games & Illusions for Adults.

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