But Really, Why Puzzles and the Brain?


EVENT: Thurs. May 26 7:00 p.m. Bendable Branch 1515 Danforth Rd. (South of McCowan Rd. and Lawrence Ave E.) 416-396-8910

While in our daily lives we can encounter puzzles, we usually begin to refer to the newspaper, and the odd Sudoku, or even the infamous Crossword. However, most just see it as a task to pass the time, or a distraction on our daily commute. Maybe we even engage in such, because we’ve been told it is good for our brain, and to ward of Alzheimer’s and to “keep sharp”.

Now, while puzzles never present a ‘problem situation’ in a straightforward way, they are not based on literal thought, but bring out the characteristics of associative, inferential and analogical thinking. Doing a puzzle will always reward you whether or not you finish it, the more you enjoy using your brain, the more you’ll get out of it. When I speak to audiences, I always ask if they have a favorite genre of puzzles they like to complete. While just like in our daily lives we like to stick to such routines and familiarity, going into the challenge of a new puzzle, while it can be frightening, instead provides our brains with insight thinking, in order to process and figure out and apply new forms or ways of thinking to complete the challenge at hand.

Sometimes, this however does not come easily for some. Maybe when it comes to a work project, or figuring out how to complete the errands you have that day. Using the same insight thinking will provide you with an innovative way to accomplish what sometimes at first can seem to be a daunting task.

Being dubbed an an “enigmatologist”, (that is someone who creates, designs and studies puzzles), I am always fascinated to understand how these small “mental catharsis” actually can have a profound effect on our lives. When we complete a small puzzle or challenge, our self-esteem and well-being then convince the self, that we are able to take on the day’s challenges, and can get through the upcoming, and unfamiliar challenges of the day.

While my interest in puzzles is a life long journey, I continually study the effects of puzzles on the brain, and the effects of puzzle in relation to culture and language. This has allowed me to to create puzzles that could lead to better learning strategies for children, especially in areas in which they have difficulties.

If you would like to learn more about how Puzzles can assist in your daily life, and can be good for your brain, I will be hosting the following presentation in conjunction with the Toronto Public Library.

Twitter: @Stacy_A_Costa

Puzzles and the Aging Brain: Play with Puzzles and Keep Sharp!

Thurs. May 26

7:00 p.m.

Bendale Branch

1515 Danforth Rd.

416-396-8910

(South of McCowan Rd. and Lawrence Ave E.)

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