“13=UFS” is an abbreviation-style brainteaser that means the number 13 is “unlucky for some,” which is what the letters U, F and S stand for. Anecdotally, brainteasers such as this may appear on intelligence tests. IQ society Mensa also provides similar brainteasers in various online quizzes, allowing participants to have some fun seeing if they can solve difficult puzzles and riddles.
What Are Abbreviation Brainteasers?
A brainteaser is a type of puzzle or problem that requires deep thought or unconventional thinking. With abbreviation-style brainteasers, participants are typically provided a combination of numbers, symbols and letters, and they need to determine what words the letters serve as abbreviations for. The brainteasers usually translate to a well-known phrase or sentence or a commonly known fact, and the key words are shortened to their first letters only. They can be simple, such as “24 H in a D” for “24 hours in a day,” or more complex, such as “32 D F is the T at which W F” for “32 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature at which water freezes.” Sometimes, these brainteasers are also called “letter equations,” particularly if there’s an equals sign (=) somewhere in the puzzle.
Do Brainteasers Help Your Brain?
Brainteasers are usually meant to be amusing and relatively fun to solve, but they also require people to use their analytical and logical reasoning skills. Abbreviation and other types of brainteasers often appear on internet “IQ tests,” which aren’t scientifically valid, but that doesn’t mean there’s no point in doing the puzzles. While completing brainteasers online may not accurately reflect a person’s intelligence level, the mental exercise these tests provide could actually be helpful — and fun.
Scientists aren’t exactly sure how — or to what extent — solving brainteasers and other puzzles can boost brain function. However, some studies are beginning to demonstrate that, because solving puzzles helps keep a person’s mind active, brain games may play a role in slowing memory loss and the onset of diseases like Alzheimer’s. Completing puzzles could also improve reasoning skills and make it easier to pay attention to and process information.
Solving puzzles has a number of other purported brain-boosting benefits. It often causes a person to call upon their memory as they combine new information from the puzzle with information, such as patterns, that they already know. Combining thoughts and information this way helps a person create new ideas and strengthens their memory in the process. Solving puzzles forms new connections between brain cells, and it also reinforces existing connections. The result? Figuring out brainteasers may help a person think faster.
Boosting Brain Power
Doing online puzzles like abbreviation brainteasers isn’t the only way to exercise your brain. In addition to keeping your brain active with riddles and word games like crossword puzzles, it can help to play actual board games — the social connections you form while doing this can also help keep your mind agile. Learning something new, such as a language, musical instrument or cooking technique, is also helpful. Taking adult education classes to learn these new skills is another effective way to foster social connections. Even spending more time each day reading a book can boost your brain power.