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Think fast is what my fourteen-year-old son says when he pelts a lemon straight at me from across the room. Left-Handed Lemon is a game I invented decades ago. The rules are not that complicated: you throw the lemon with your left hand and your challenger catches it with their left hand. Throw hard and don’t drop it – again and again – that’s how to win.
I like telling people this game anticipated discoveries about neuroplasticity made famous by Norman Doidge’s international best-seller The Brain that Changes Itself (2007). One of its key arguments is that repeating a task will make your neurons fire faster and, almost magically, you will think and react faster. Left-Handed Lemon started with the exact same premise, only without any of the scientific knowledge or research, case studies or magnetic resonance imaging. If you teach your brain to throw and catch lemons left-handed, my hypothesis went, it will somehow make you smarter.