Executive Function > Strategy

The Towers of Hanoi

Screenshot of HappyNeuron Pro exercise Towers of Hanoi

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Executive Function > Strategy

The Towers of Hanoi

In this exercise, the user must rebuild the tower of rings presented to them in the fewest number of moves possible. There are only two rules: only one ring can move at a time, and large rings cannot go on top of small rings. 

Brain Areas Engaged 
how towers of hanoi engages the brain.

Learn more about this exercise:

This exercise requires problem-solving skills that use the brain’s executive functions. You must define a strategy to achieve a desired outcome, calculate the right moves to solve in the shortest possible time, and remember the exercise rules. Training this kind of thinking is helpful as a guide for other problem-solving situations. 

The area of the brain at play is the pre-frontal cortex, the anterior portion of the frontal lobe important for the “higher cognitive functions” and the determination of personality.

Relying heavily on the frontal lobe – the center of executive functioning- the user must develop strategies to inhibit impulses and plan solutions to solve complex problems efficiently. 

The Towers of Hanoi challenges the individual’s ability to think before they act and carefully consider the size of an object before they move it. Individuals use these skills every time they load a car with groceries or plan how to move boxes to a new location. 

You can modify:

  • The number of moves (less than 5, 5 to 9, 10 to 14, 15 to 19, 20 to 24, 25 to 29, or more to 29)
  • The number of rings (2, 3, 4, or 5)
  • The number of tries (1, 2, or 3)
  • The number of configurations (1, 2, or 3)
  • The allowed time (unlimited, 3, 2, or 1 minute)

Over 460 unique exercise configurations and significant data set depth.

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Other strategy exercises:


Reasoning, strategy

Entangled Figures

Visual attention, strategy

Writing in the Stars 

Planning, decision making 

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