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11 February 2008

The Cake Puzzle

Picture a typical round birthday cake. Now, let's say a friend of yours gave you a big knife and challenged you to cut the cake into 8 pieces - but with only 3 cuts! How would you go about solving this puzzle? Take a break now and think about it. Use pen and paper if it is hard to picture it in your mind. Ultimately though, you might need to use your mental imagery skills to come up with the answer to this puzzle. More specifically, your mental rotation skills - yeah, we didn't know we had one either! Answer to the puzzle after the jump.

Brain blogger Alvaro Fernandez from Sharp Brains is here to explain how this works and how to go about solving this puzzle:

First, you have to use your mental rotation and mental imagery skills to visualize potential answers for this puzzle. You can create a mental image of a cake and rotate it in your mind's eye. In doing so, you are using your visual cortex in the occipital lobes (the part of the cortex which is in the back of your head), your somatosensory cortex in your parietal lobes (in the superior part of your head), and then exercise your executive functions in your frontal lobes (right behind your forehead) when you evaluate your hypotheses and refine them until you find the answer.

The so-called "executive functions" are named that way because, like the director of an orchestra or the CEO of a corporation, they are critical to direct and manage the other parts of our brain as needed (as if they were different instruments in the sympony our mind can create).

Alvaro is a leading voice and thought-leader in the growing science-based brain fitness field.

If you still couldn't solve the puzzle, don't worry - here is the answer!

Enjoyed this little puzzle? You can find more brain teasers here.

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