Here is something to introduce Marcel Danesi’s Psychology Today blog ‘Brain Workout’:
Lewis Carroll, the pen-name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, is popularly known as the author of the surreal Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. But Lewis Carroll was also a noted mathematician – and a puzzle-maker.
One of Carroll’s puzzle inventions is the doublet, in which you have to transform one word into another by changing only one letter at a time, making a real new word with each letter change. It became an instant craze in London when he first published the idea in Vanity Vair back at the end of the 19th Century. Here is Carroll’s own example:
Can you turn HEAD into TAIL?
The solution involves five letter changes, producing four “links” between HEAD and TAIL.
- heal (change the “d” of “head” to “l”)
- teal (change the “h” to “t”)
- tell (change the “a” to “l”)
- tall (change the “e” to l”)
- TAIL (change the first “l” of “tall” to “i”)
A ‘teal’ is a type of duck, more widely known in Victorian times I expect.
Here are some modern examples from Marcel Danesi. Can you solve them?
- 1. Can you evolve APE into MAN with just four links?
- 2. Make FLOUR into BREAD with five links.
- 3. Go from SLEEP to DREAM with five links.
- 4. Increase ONE to TWO with six links.
- 5. Turn BLACK into WHITE with six links.
- 6. Can you get from RIVER to SHORE with 10 links?
Try this task in your head to make it more challenging. Doing this task requires good short term memory capacity – what psychologists call ‘working memory’. Training working memory capacity improves problem solving ability across the board – and since intelligence is based on problem solving ability, it improves general intelligence by 10-20 IQ points. Click on the link below to download scientifically proven software that increases working memory capacity by 65% in 20 days.
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