This post of puzzles and how it puts you in a playful, amused state I thought would be perfect to leave with you for your weekend pleasure.

Interestingly,  research found that if you had been amused you were better at making the leap and solving certain types of problems (out-of-the-box insight type of puzzle/problems). How they tested this was comparing the ability to solve puzzles after watching a short comedy routine, a boring video (I think we can all think of examples), or scary video. Subjects were more likely to have insight and solve the problem after watching the comedy routine.

“Dr. Beeman and Dr. Subramaniam had college students solve word-association puzzles after watching a short video of a stand-up routine by Robin Williams. The students solved more of the puzzles over all, and significantly more by sudden insight, compared with when they’d seen a scary or boring video beforehand.”

“What we think is happening...is that the humor, this positive mood, is lowering the brain’s threshold for detecting weaker or more remote connections” to solve puzzles.

But what I found was even more interesting is this works in reverse. That puzzles put us into a more playful, open minded state.

         “The very idea of doing a crossword or a Sudoku puzzle typically shifts the brain into an open, playful state that is itself a pleasing escape…”

That sounded like a very nice state of mind to me. The post concludes with this:

Take home message:

Puzzle and problem challenge and stimulate the brain and is good for our brain health by keeping it active and flexible. But an added bonus, and maybe why we enjoy puzzles so much, is they can put us in an amused state of mind. Our brain becomes more open and playful.

Puzzles can come in many forms: crosswords, sudoku, picture puzzles, riddles, math, word, SAT, logic, some computer games, and life itself – go enjoy them.

Hope all of you have a playful weekend.

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