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Quiz: How well do you know your brain?

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Your brain can multi-task well, juggling more than two conscious tasks at the same time.

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Your brain can multi-task well, juggling more than two conscious tasks at the same time.

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The truth is your brain can’t really pull off managing several tasks at once. It may seem that way because it switches very quickly from one task to another. As changing focus takes time, it means multi-tasking isn't actually the most efficient way to get things done.

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Déjà vu is triggered by: 

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Déjà vu is triggered by: 

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It’s still unclear why some people have a sense of  déjà vu – or the mistaken feeling you've been somewhere or done something before. Some new research suggests the phenomenon occurs when you are somewhere that's similar to a place you've visited before. It may also happen when you are doing something similar to a previous experience. For a fleeting moment, your brain may mistakenly think you have been there, or done this, sometime in the past.

People with large brains are more clever.

People with large brains are more clever.

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The fact that cavemen had larger brains (and bigger bodies) should be a clue that size does not matter when it comes to grey matter. A larger brain doesn't correlate with a higher IQ. Large brained animals like elephants and whales, don’t appear to be any more intelligent than other animals. One theory is that the human brain “downsized” as humans evolved. Some synaptic pruning may have taken place as connections that were not useful for complex processes like language, thinking and memory were done away with.

What was surprising about Einstein’s brain?

What was surprising about Einstein’s brain?

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Einstein’s brain was preserved for research when he died in 1955. A study carried out in 1999, based on photographs of his brain, showed that the parietal lobes appear 15% wider than normal. These lobes are linked to mathematical, visual and spatial cognition. To illustrate our earlier point, the size of his brain was a little smaller than average for modern humans.

What is the average weight of your brain?

What is the average weight of your brain?

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The average human brain weighs about 1360 grams, or 3 lbs. That’s about four times lighter than an elephant brain. The heaviest mammalian brain is found in the sperm whale – weighing 7711 grams (17 lbs). Larger brains are needed, in part, to control larger muscles. At the other end of the scale is the owl brain that weighs just over two grams. A bullfrog's brain is even less, being about one-tenth the weight of an owl’s.

Meditation can improve concentration and decision making.

Meditation can improve concentration and decision making.

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In a study that scanned the brains of Buddhist monks as they meditated, certain parts of the brain that help concentration and decision making became more active. There was a striking difference between novice and older monks, with the latter showing a dramatic increase in high-frequency brain activity known as gamma waves. Researchers say this suggests that mental training over time can increase focus and alter the structure and functioning ability of the brain.

In a left handed person, movement on the left side is controlled by the right side of the brain.

In a left handed person, movement on the left side is controlled by the right side of the brain.

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Regardless of whether you are left or right handed, the right side of your brain controls movements on the left side of your body. The reverse is also true, with the left side of your brain controlling movements on the right side. This is why, if you have damage to one side of your brain, the other side of your body will be affected. For example, a stroke in the left part of your brain, may paralyse your right arm or leg.

What skills are linked to the left side of the brain?

What skills are linked to the left side of the brain?

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The brain is divided into the right and left hemispheres and both handle different tasks. In general, linguistic skills as well as exact mathematical computations are managed by the left side of the brain. Processing music, facial recognition, spacial abilities and some rough math estimations are associated with the right side.  

Exercising your brain keeps it fit.

Exercising your brain keeps it fit.

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Use it or lose it. To keep your brain fit and healthy, it needs exercise. You can flex your mental muscles by learning new skills or doing mental exercises that strengthen connections between brain cells. Mental stimulation improves the brain’s function, so staying curious can help it stay sharp as you age. Even in old age, you can grow new neurons, which protects against mental decline caused by disease, and losses in memory or motor skills.

What increases the risk of a stroke?

What increases the risk of a stroke?

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All of the above increase the risk of having a stroke - when a blood vessel in your brain breaks or gets blocked. High blood pressure, as well as diabetes and smoking, can damage blood vessels that supply your brain, increasing  the risk of a stroke.

Your brain cells signal one another using:

Your brain cells signal one another using:

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Your brain is packed with neurons that are separated by tiny gaps, called synapses. As we think, move, feel or remember, these neurons are at work. When a signal reaches the end of a nerve fibre, neurotransmitters are released. These small electric signals bridge the gaps by zipping from neuron to neuron as fast as 250 miles per hour.

What is "grey matter"? 

What is "grey matter"? 

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Grey matter is the grey coloured tissue of the outer layer of the brain that contains nerve cell bodies and fibres. White matter consists mainly of nerve fibres coated with a sheath called myelin. The myelin sheath allows neurons to send messages, or nerve impulses, faster.

How much body energy does your brain drain?

How much body energy does your brain drain?

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Brain cells use up twice as much energy as the other cells in your body. It burns through a quarter of your body’s energy supply. The brain is only 2% of your overall body weight but it is constantly active, even when your are sleeping.

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Which of these triggers register most strongly in your brain?

Which of these triggers register most strongly in your brain?

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The brain is acutely aware of the subliminal, or hidden, messages conveyed by human expressions. Research suggests faces that express emotions, such as smiling or frowning, have the strongest impact. Words are less successful at conveying hidden messages to the brain.

Your brain contains how many brain cells?

Your brain contains how many brain cells?

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The average adult human brain is powered by a staggering 100 billion cells or neurons. Linked by synapses, a single firing neuron can communicate to tens of thousands of other brain cells in a single moment. However, much of how the complex functions of the brain work and how they connect to each other remains a mystery.

Brain cells usually live longer than other cells. 

Brain cells usually live longer than other cells. 

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Brain cells live longer than any other cells in your body. Research also suggests that some parts of the brain may be able to grow new neurons as we age. However, most of our brain cells are present at birth and remain until we die, while the wiring of these cells changes constantly throughout our lives.There is even some new research in animals that suggests our brain cells may be able to outlive us if transplanted into a different brain, but that’s another story!

Your brain stores memories as you sleep.

Your brain stores memories as you sleep.

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Sleep, learning and memory are not completely understood, but researchers believe that the brain uses the time we sleep to process and store memories. Studies suggest that quality of sleep can have a big impact on how we learn and remember, and we know that sleep deprivation results in loss of concentration and the ability to recall memories. It’s thought sleep helps us consolidate memories, which is essential for learning new information like how to play a piano or ride a bike.

Your Score:   You correctly answered   out of   questions.
Your Score:   You correctly answered   out of   questions.

Well done, Einstein! You're a genius when it comes to grey matter.

Not too bad, but you can do better. Put your thinking cap on and try the quiz again.

Bit of a brain drain? Dust up on the grey areas and test your knowledge again.

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