A visual puzzle isn’t just another fancy word for a jigsaw puzzle. The concept of visual puzzles is much broader than that. This guide will introduce you to several different types of visual puzzles, explaining what they are, how to solve them, and how they’re good for your brain.

What are visual puzzles?

A visual puzzle, or visual brain teaser, is any logic or reasoning problem that is expressed and solved using drawings and/or images. However, even though they all have the visual component in common, not all visual puzzles work the same way. For example, a ‘spot the difference’ game is one type of visual puzzle and a ‘find the hidden object’ game is another type of visual puzzle. They both require the use of images, but you go about solving them using different methods.

Are visual puzzles good for your brain?

If challenging your mind with visual brain teasers and puzzles sounds like your idea of fun, then you’re in luck – doing visual puzzles is a great way to sharpen your logic and reasoning skills. According to a study published in the journal IRSN Neurology, solving visual puzzles requires “nonverbal reasoning and the ability to analyse and synthesise abstract visual stimuli,” so by doing visual brain teasers like the various kinds in this list, you’re sharpening those skills. Think of it as a workout for your brain!



courtesy Tallfellow Press

In the 1950s, humour writer Roger Price became famous for creating a new type of visual puzzle called ‘Droodles’. These Droodles were cartoon-y line drawings of abstract images, and readers were asked to decipher the drawings’ intentionally absurd and LOL-worthy meanings, which Price would include beneath the drawing.

Brain benefits: This visual brain teaser exercises your abstract thinking skills and creativity, and in truth, there’s no real ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer. It’s all about training your mind to see things in a different light, which can benefit your problem-solving skills.

Spot the difference

Spot the difference

This visual brain teaser is a classic childhood game, so you’re probably already familiar with how this one works: Two nearly identical images are placed side by side, and your job is to spot the small, subtle differences between the two images. For example, maybe a dog’s spots are black in the first image, but brown in the second.

Brain benefits: This fun brain game helps you hone your attention to detail, since you have to zero in on all the minute details in order to spot the differences between the two images which, at first glance, probably look identical.

If you’ve succeeded in seeing all the differences, see if you can you pass this brainteasing colour quiz?

Rebus puzzles

Rebus puzzles

Rebus puzzles are visual brain teasers based on common words or phrases, and your job is to figure out the word or phrase by looking at the puzzle ‘image’, which is often a combination of words, numbers and symbols arranged in such a way that they have a deeper meaning. If you deciphered that the above image means “travel overseas,” good job!

Brain benefits: Rebus puzzles challenge both the left and right areas of your brain by combining language skills with critical thinking/logic skills, plus a dash of creativity, which is why they’re so much fun (and so tricky!) to solve.

Triangle puzzle

Triangle puzzle

This puzzle is all about seeing triangles…inside triangles…inside other triangles! Your goal is to see how many triangles you can count within this puzzle. The secret: Pay attention to how each smaller triangle is also part of a larger triangle, and how that larger triangle is part of an even larger one, and so on. Did you count 24?

Brain benefits: With this visual brain challenge, you’re training your noggin to see parts of a whole more clearly. It also helps you think more spatially since you have to ‘separate’ each triangle from the rest in your mind in order to count it.

Find the cat

Find the cat
courtesy gergely dudas

Don’t be fooled! These aren’t all bats in this drawing. There’s one cat hidden amongst them, but you’ll have to look closely to spot it – just like you would hunt through a ‘spot the difference’ puzzle.

Brain benefits: If you want to improve your attention to detail, this visual puzzle can help, since you’ll need eagle eyes to spot the cat amongst all of these look-alike bats.

Now see if you can pass this cat trivia quiz.

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