Brain Power!

First published 2013. To view the latest Heads Up content, click here.

The brain excels at making predictions and clarifying confusion, thanks to a network of billions of cells called neurons. This vast network enables your brain to respond to the unexpected or the unclear. This includes solving puzzles, such as those below, as well as ducking when a ball flies at your head or eating when you feel hungry. Your amazing brain does all of this automatically—without your even having to think about it! Check out the brainteasers below to see the power of the brain in action, and answer the questions at the bottom of the page.

Double Take

Your brain can see things that aren’t there. Does that mean you’re seeing things? No! Your flexible brain is so good at making sense of patterns that it can see two images in one image.

The image at left is both a __________________ and __________________.

Spell Check

Your brain also solves mysteries in language. Imagine you find the cryptic note to the right on a food container. Good thing your brain needs only the first and last letter of a word to be in the right place!

Translation: ________________________________

spell check


Think It Through:

Drugs break into the neural network and physically modify brain communication. They can make it hard to process information and make sound decisions. They also slow reflexes, which can lead to accidents and injuries. Considering these facts, answer the questions below on separate paper.

  1. How might drugs affect a person’s ability to drive?
  2. How might drugs affect a person’s ability to take a test?
  3. How might drugs affect a person’s ability to avoid injury?

Download and print a copy of this Work Sheet (PDF).

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