January 23, 2020

Andreas Nintos

Check My Brain: The Neuropsychology of Rush Hour

Topics: STEM Education / Play, Learning Through Play, STEM, Brainteasers


A self-regulating mechanism (SRM) is in place (or it’s not) every time we face a challenging situation. Take the annoying -- or utterly frustrating -- experience of being stuck in traffic.


What do you do?

ThinkFun’s Rush Hour Traffic Jam Logic Game is the perfect example of how you can put your cognitive strengths and emotional awareness into play and escape a difficult or sometimes impossible situation in a blaze of glory.

You get to drive the red car with one ultimate goal: Escape a single exit point making your way through a bunch of competitive, angry and careless drivers using your (psychological) drive motivational skills.

There’s only one rule: Stay on the gridlock at all times and use your moves wisely so that you escape in time and congratulate yourself (ok that’s two rules).

Brain GameFrom a neurobiological point of view, cognition and emotion interplay is at the core of that self-regulating mechanism we were talking about earlier, helping us make our way throughout evolution into survival, safety or even thriving.

Part of this SRM lays within a set of thinking abilities named executive functions, which are primarily located in the frontal lobes of our brain. What’s their deal? They simply regulate our behavior, spark and ignite our curiosity and creativity, monitor our thoughts, channel and divide our attention, and deploy our flexibility in novel or bizarre situations, to name but a few of their functions.

So why is Traffic Jam Rush Hour so great and equally beneficial for sharpening our minds?

Cognitive flexibility, decision making, strategic planning, visuospatial awareness, initiating and maintaining effort, monitoring and perceptual reasoning are a few good reasons, but this is not an exhaustive list.

Parents, make sure to check out Rush Hour for your children (if you haven’t already), as thinking abilities and cognitive processes can and must be trained in a fun way!

Author's Bio

Andreas NintosAndreas Nintos is a licensed HCPC registered Clinical Psychologist in the United Kingdom and works as a Clinical Neuropsychologist at the Kensington & Chelsea & Westminster Memory Service in London. He holds a First-Class Honors Degree in Psychology from the University of Athens, Greece. He obtained a graduate degree in Clinical Neuropsychology from Athens Medical School, Department of Neurology in collaboration with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. He is a PhD candidate in Aerospace Neuropsychology from the Department of Psychology, University of Athens. In 2012, he founded the first Department of Neuropsychology in the private health sector in Greece at Metropolitan Hospital, where he worked as a Clinical Neuropsychology Consultant until 2018. In 2018 he worked as a Highly Specialist Clinical Psychology for the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. He has considerable clinical research experience: In 2015 he collaborated with Cambridge Cognition on the adaptation of the CANTABmobile computerized memory test in Greek. One of his research interests is the investigation of the human risk factor in aviation accidents and mishaps. In 2016 his team won the 1st Prize for the best Scientific Poster at the 5th European Conference on Aerospace Medicine in Oslo, Norway, exploringcognitive and psychological factors in the 100 most fatal civil aviation accidents. He also practices clinical neuropsychology and psychotherapy privately in Athens, Greece and is a co-founder of Pine Assessment and Development, which is a psychologists’ collaboration on research and applied neuropsychology.

A note from ThinkFun

At ThinkFun, we love it when learning and fun collide. It’s why we do what we do. Every game, puzzle and brainteaser we create is aimed at igniting a spark in a young mind. Still curious? Check us out on the web, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube or Instagram.

Are you a former or current educator who is interested in guest blogging for ThinkFun? Please contact us for more information! You could be featured in our next blog post and TeachFun e-newsletter!

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