What exactly are brain teasers and are they good for improving your intelligence

There are many forms of brain teasers around...

In simple terms, they are a type of puzzle aimed at applying thought to work out the answer. Unlike a quiz, the answer to a brain teaser is not based on knowing a fact. I will show you the difference between a brain teaser and a general knowledge question. Then you will be able to see how they can be good for increasing your intelligence.

Difference between a standard question and a brain teaser

One thing is certain…

…if you do not use your brain then you will never become intelligent!

 Intelligence comes from experience and having the ability to apply reasoning to deduce an answer. Brain-teasers are a good way of assessing how well your brain is working right now. They are also useful for helping ‘fine tune’ your brain the way you would do your car.

Let us take two examples. Firstly, if I asked you what six time six was, hopefully you would give me the answer thirty-six. The answer is a known fact; it is something learned. The answer is memory-based, but having a good memory does not necessarily mean you are intelligent. No, it just means you can remember things more easily than others can.

Some people have photographic memories and they only need to read a fact once to remember it. But it is different if put a question to someone with a photographic memory that requires the application of logic thought to produce an answer. Then you may discover they are no more intelligent than you or me. It is only because they know so much they seem more intelligent than us.

brain teasers

Consequently, the question needs basic knowledge to answer it; it is not something that can be deduced. However, if I were to give you a list of numbers and ask you to tell me which was the missing number, you wouldn’t be able to tell me instantly. You would have to check all the numbers to work out if there was a sequence. Only then could you work out what the missing number would be.

The above example is a basic form of brain teaser. It requires more than a little intelligence when shown a list of numbers to see that there is a sequence. The idea behind a brain teaser requires a dual thought process. You have to identify what is required of you even before you start to work out the answer.

Are brain teasers just for fun?

You may well have come across many types of brain teaser in your youth. Often they may seem like they play no purpose in everyday life. However you would be very wrong. Brain-teasers have a very serious side to them.

What we learn from practising mental challenges is how to approach certain types of problem. It is the practical application of knowledge gained that can help increase intelligence. However, it is also useful to learn how to apply that new knowledge correctly. In many ways, learning how to use your brain more effectively is a bit like learning to drive a car.

Experience tells us how a car will react under certain circumstances, to the point where driving becomes an instinct. Brain games are another way of allowing us to use our brains in such a way that it becomes natural and instinctive. Not only that, but testing your mental capabilities can be great fun.

Many of us have a competitive streak in us. Aiming for and beating a target is what drives many of us too. The fun aspect of brain games is doing better than your friends, that’s for sure. We all want to appear to be the smartest in a group. But then there’s the personal best. If you do a series of brain-teasers, how do you know that next time you won’t do better?

Brain-teasers are also great fun when you’re with a group of friends. Somehow everyone likes an instant challenge, especially one where you get the chance to show off how clever you are. They are also a great way to get a group of people to interact as resources on the intelligence front are pooled.

Often brain-teasers require what is called lateral thinking or ‘thinking outside of the box’. A classic example of this type of problem-solving comes with this question. “A man stops his car in front of a hotel and as a result, he goes bankrupt. The question is, why?”

Certainly you can think up many obscure scenarios that aim to provide an obvious solution, but they are usually all flawed. There is only one answer that is neither construed nor adjusted to fit, and that is the man was playing the board game Monopoly.

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