Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


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


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


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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