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How does Your Brain Operate to Solve Problems?

Saturday, August 22, 2009
Let's see how the brain operates to solve problems...  If you want to experience this exercise, it is very important that you do not skip ahead and read the material below where you are at the moment.

I’m going to show you two sets of puzzles.  This isn't a test where you get graded on how well you do. But I want you to pay attention to how your brain approaches these puzzles. The first set is very easy and almost everyone can solve it with no problem. But, however you see it, don't worry about it. Just pay attention to your process. 

Take just a few minutes with this set of puzzles:
1) What common 3-letter word can go into every blank below to make another word?
                        NIS
S                        CIL
KIT                       
2) What number goes in the blank box so the 4 numbers in both sets total the same number?
The next set of puzzles is much more difficult. I've seen Mensa members who couldn't solve it. The problems may look obvious on the surface but they aren't. Even when you think you've got the right answer, you probably won't. But still just work on the problems and see what you come up with. And notice how your brain is trying to tackle them.

Take a few moments with these puzzles:



3) Cross off 4 letters in this word to come up with a vegetable:   
CHLORINE
4) A deli has 2 types of bread, 3 kinds of cheese, and 3 kinds of meat. Customers can choose one type of bread, one cheese and one meat for their sandwich.  How many variations of sandwiches can there be?

  • 17
  • 18
  • 24
  •  27

Now, think about for a moment how those two experiences were different for you.


Before we go any further, let me confess that the second set of puzzles was not really harder. Both of these come from an elementary school level puzzle book. But what happened to your ability to solve the puzzle when you believed it was impossible?

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