Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Rosetta Stone as provider of “technology-based language-learning, reading and brain fitness solutions”

Rosetta StoneVery inter­est­ing to see how Rosetta Stone, given its recent acqui­si­tion of Viv­ity Labs (devel­oper of Fit Brains mobile cog­ni­tive games) now iden­ti­fies itself as a “ a lead­ing provider of technology-based language-learning, read­ing and brain fit­ness solu­tions.” Read the rest of this entry »

Rosetta Stone to buy Vivity Labs, developer of Fit Brains brain training games

Rosetta StoneRosetta Stone to Acquire Fit Brains Cre­ator Viv­ity Labs, Will Enter Fast-Growing Brain-Training Mar­ket (press release):

  • There is a remark­able over­lap between lan­guage learn­ers and peo­ple who are look­ing to boost their cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties,” said Steve Swad, Pres­i­dent and CEO of Rosetta Stone. “Indeed, our research sug­gests that a sig­nif­i­cant per­cent­age of peo­ple who pur­chased a language-learning prod­uct in the past year also Read the rest of this entry »

Does brain training work? Yes, if it meets these 5 conditions

brain exerciseIn a mod­ern soci­ety we are con­fronted with a wide range of increas­ingly abstract and inter­con­nected prob­lems. Suc­cess­fully deal­ing with such an envi­ron­ment requires a highly fit brain, capa­ble of adapt­ing to new sit­u­a­tions and chal­lenges through­out life. Con­se­quently, we expect cross-training the brain to soon become as main­stream as cross-training the body is today, going beyond unstruc­tured men­tal activ­ity and Read the rest of this entry »

Update: Time to become mental capitalists and invest in our brains?

Time for the Novem­ber edi­tion of the monthly Sharp­Brains eNewslet­ter, fea­tur­ing a wealth of resources and insights on how to invest in our brains, includ­ing top­ics such as brain health, med­i­ta­tion, neu­ropsy­chol­ogy, brain train­ing games, chemo brain, dyslexia, neu­ro­plas­tic­ity, cog­ni­tive biases, stress, and more. Not to for­get a cou­ple of fun teasers. Enjoy!

Brain Fit­ness Q&A Sessions:

The Big Picture:

New Research:

New Books:

Brain Teasers:

Thank you for your inter­est and atten­tion and have a great December.

Brain Training Games for Seniors: Looking for the best brain training app

This arti­cle reports on a series of focus group stud­ies car­ried out at the Sonic Arts Research Cen­tre, Queen’s Uni­ver­sity Belfast, North­ern Ire­land. The aim was to iden­tify the key moti­va­tional fac­tors influ­enc­ing seniors’ engage­ment with mobile brain train­ing tech­nol­ogy in order to inform the design of a brain train­ing tool which is accept­able / enjoy­able to tar­get users.

The result is an iPhone appli­ca­tion named ‘Brain Jog’ which can be down­loaded from here for free. The appli­ca­tion is being used for a fur­ther study to bet­ter under­stand what con­sti­tutes an enjoy­able brain train­ing game expe­ri­ence for seniors and is the first step in a larger study which will inves­ti­gate how effec­tive ‘brain train­ing’ apps can be in pre­vent­ing cog­ni­tive decline / demen­tia. Users over the age of 50 are encour­aged to down­load the free app and take part.

Now more about the present study. Thirty-four par­tic­i­pants aged 50+ took part in four focus groups last­ing approx­i­mately 2 hours each. Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Teaser to Stimulate your Concentration Skills

Learn­ing can be inci­den­tal. We all mem­o­rize facts with­out pay­ing much atten­tion to these facts or with­out will­ing to mem­o­rize them. How­ever, when one really wants to mem­o­rize a fact, it is cru­cial to pay atten­tion. Many stud­ies have shown that com­pared to full atten­tion con­di­tions, divid­ing atten­tion dur­ing study time leads to poor mem­ory performance.

This exer­cise will help you prac­tice focus­ing your attention.

It may seem easy but make sure you count twice!

Count the num­ber of “Y” in this text:

Yes­ter­day, Lucy went all the way to Boston. She wanted to buy new shoes. She had to go in many shops before she found the shoes she wanted. She was happy to stop at a restau­rant to have some tea and cook­ies before she took the train back home.

Count the num­ber of “F” in this text:

Fin­ished files are the result of years of sci­en­tific study com­bined with the expe­ri­ence of years.

Count the num­ber of “E” in this text:

Last sum­mer, Jean and Har­riet spent their vaca­tion in Michi­gan. They rented a cabin on the lake. The cabin had two bed­rooms and a nice deck. They used to spend a lot of time on the deck, just look­ing at how the light would change on the water. Sev­eral times, they bor­rowed bikes from their neigh­bors and spent a few hours explor­ing the vil­lages not far from their cabin.


Solu­tions

There are 7 “Y” in the first text.

There are 6 “F” in the sec­ond text (got them?)

There are 38 “E” in the third text.

For many other Brain Teasers, click Here.
For many other teasers and arti­cles by Dr. Mich­e­lon, click Here.

Pascale MichelonPas­cale Mich­e­lon, Ph. D., is Sharp­Brains’ Research Man­ager for Edu­ca­tional Projects. Dr. Mich­e­lon has a Ph.D. in Cog­ni­tive Psy­chol­ogy and has worked as a Research Sci­en­tist at Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­sity in Saint Louis, in the Psy­chol­ogy Depart­ment. She con­ducted sev­eral research projects to under­stand how the brain makes use of visual infor­ma­tion and mem­o­rizes facts. She is now an Adjunct Fac­ulty at Wash­ing­ton University.

Nintendo Brain Age/ Training vs. Crossword Puzzles

Nin­tendo brain-trainer ‘no bet­ter than pen­cil and paper’ (The Times):
“The sur­vey of ten-year-old chil­dren found no evi­dence to sup­port claims in Nintendo’s adver­tis­ing cam­paign, fea­tur­ing Nicole Kid­man, that users can test and reju­ve­nate their grey cells. The Nin­tendo DS is a tech­no­log­i­cal jewel. As a game it’s fine, said Alain Lieury, pro­fes­sor of cog­ni­tive psy­chol­ogy at the Uni­ver­sity of Rennes, Brit­tany, who con­ducted the sur­vey. But it is char­la­tanism to claim that it is a sci­en­tific test.

Com­ments: as we have said before, Nin­tendo Brain Age and Brain Train­ing should be seen as what they are: a game. And the con­struct of one’s hav­ing a  “brain age” makes no sense.

Hav­ing said that, the researcher quoted then offers, out of the blue, a highly inac­cu­rate statement:

The study tested Nintendo’s claims on 67 ten-year-olds. “That’s the age where you have the best chance of improve­ment,” Pro­fes­sor Lieury said. “If it doesn’t work on chil­dren, it won’t work on adults.”

That asser­tion (that some­thing won’t “work” on adults because it won’t “work” on kids) makes even less sense than hav­ing a “brain age”. The Cog­ni­tive Reserve research shows the need for life­long men­tal stim­u­la­tion — and the real­ity is that kids are more exposed to nov­elty and chal­lenge all the time, whereas older adults may not be. Fur­ther, that claim (some­thing that doesn’t “work” on kids won’t “work” on adults) has already been tested and proven wrong:

In a cou­ple of recent tri­als, dis­cussed here, the same strat­egy game (Rise of Nations, a com­plex chal­lenge for exec­u­tive func­tions), played for the same num­ber of hours (23)  showed quite impres­sive (untrained) cog­ni­tive ben­e­fits in peo­ple over 60 — and no ben­e­fits in peo­ple in their 20s.

How can this be? Well, we often say that our brains need nov­elty, vari­ety and chal­lenge — and it should be obvi­ous that those ingre­di­ents depend on who we are Read the rest of this entry »

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