Neurobics: Plan Ahead

Neurology Now
August/September 2013
Volume 9(4)
p 13

Abstract

A brain teaser that tests your executive function.

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This maze will test your executive function.

Most of the day, we don't think too hard about what we're doing. But when we encounter an unexpected or challenging situation, we have to think harder. The mental processes that allow us to plan ahead, change strategies, and evaluate possibilities are collectively called executive function.

Here is a maze that tests your ability to plan ahead.

1. (BASIC CHALLENGE) Your goal is to draw a path that starts at START, passes through the letters L-A-H-D in order, and ends at END—without going through walls or visiting any square more than once.

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2. (INTERMEDIATE) Now draw a path that starts at START, passes through all nine of the big single letters, and ends at END—without going through walls or visiting any square more than once. There are many solutions, so find the path that makes the fewest number of turns. To solve this puzzle you will need to plan ahead.

3. (CHALLENGING) Draw a path that starts at START, passes through the nine letters P-L-A-N-A-H-E-A-D in order, and ends at END—without going through walls or visiting any square more than once. To solve this puzzle you may have to change the strategy you used for #2.

4. (BRAIN-BUSTING) Draw a path that starts at START, passes through the nine letters to spell two words different from PLAN AHEAD, and ends at END—without going through walls or visiting any square more than once. To solve this puzzle you will have to evaluate many different possibilities. Hint: the two words describe a healthy bear.

Scott Kim, scott@scottkim.com

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