Riddle Me This, Brainiac

By Anna Sachse

Posted June 11, 2008 in Mind Body Spirit

Most of us know how important it is for our bodies to get exercise; however, living in the media age as we do, surrounded by television, movies, Internet, iPods and the like, we often forget to exercise what is probably our most important organ—our brains.


According to www.sharpbrains.com, if we aren’t good about strengthening our brains through mental exercise, they can become atrophied for lack of practice. Atrophy is kind of an intense word, but your brain can certainly get out of practice and have a harder time with learning, memory and critical thinking. Mental aerobics help boost your brainpower both in the short-term (improved concentration and memory, sustained mental clarity under stressful situations) and long-term (creation of a “brain reserve” that help protect us against potential problems such as Alzheimer’s). There are studies that are looking into the brain benefits of doing activities such as crosswords or Sudoku, but the goal is really to do anything that truly challenges your brain. Here are a few exercises to get you started.


1. Google “spinning ballerina changing directions.” A variety of sites will offer you the opportunity to look at an animated image of a twirling woman. At first she will look like she is spinning in one direction (most people tend to see counter-clockwise); however, she can actually be seen spinning in both directions at the same time (i.e. one person might see her turning left, while the other sees her spinning right). Given enough time and focus, you can usually see both directions, but your main interpretation is supposed to indicate whether you are left-brained (counter-clockwise; logical, practical) or right-brained (clockwise; risk-taking, imaginative). Try it—it’s seriously maddening at first. 


2.  These two come courtesy of a website called www.anvari.org. Read the questions, respond and then look at the answers at the bottom.


A) Say “silk” five times. Now spell “silk”. What do cows drink?


B) No using a calculator here. You are driving a bus from London to Milford Haven in Wales. In London, 17 people get on the bus. In Reading, six people get off the bus and nine people get on. In Swindon, two people get off and four get on. In Cardiff, 11 people get off and 16 people get on. In Swansea, three people get off and five people get on. In Carmathen, six people get off and three get on. You then arrive at Milford Haven. What was the name of the bus driver?


3. And now a couple from www.braingle.com. Answers below.


C) Riddle: What is bigger when it’s put upside down?


D) Five couples went to the prom as a group. The boys’ names were Mark, Quintin, Jim, Bob and James. The girls’ names were Amanda, Betty, Susan, Jessica and Jasmin. Each couple wore matching colors of either blue, yellow, red, green or pink. Match the dates and the color they are wearing.

– Two couples have the same first letter in their name. One of those letters is “B.”

– Susan wore red and Jessica wore blue.
– Susan has more letters in her name than her date does.
– Neither Mark nor Quintin went with Jasmin, who was wearing yellow.
– Amanda went with Jim and they did not wear green.


Answer to A: Cows drink water (and before you get snippy, calves, not cows, drink milk). 


Answer to B: You. Read the second sentence again.


Answer to C: The number 6. Upside down, it’s a 9.


Answer to D: Mark and Susan wore red; Quintin and Jessica wore blue; Jim and Amanda wore pink; Bob and Betty wore green; James and Jasmin wore yellow.


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