Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Can you use mental self rotation to read a map?

What is men­tal self rota­tion? It is the abil­ity to imag­ine your­self in dif­fer­ent loca­tions in space and imag­ine your body mov­ing in space. This is an abil­ity that is used in dif­fer­ent every­day activ­i­ties such as nav­i­gat­ing in an envi­ron­ment or read­ing a map.

  • Abil­ity involved: ego­cen­tric spa­tial trans­for­ma­tions (yes, that is the sci­en­tific expres­sion) or men­tal self rotation.
  • Brain areas involved: mostly pari­etal lobes.

Let’s take an exam­ple. Imag­ine that you plan to go to a new Wal­greens loca­tion. You won­der whether going North on Big Bend Avenue you would have to make a right or a left turn onto Forsyth Blvd to get to Wal­greens. You then look at the map that your spouse has laid out on the table. It turns out that the map is upside down so your per­spec­tive is not aligned with the one shown on the map (see Fig­ure 1 just below, Box A). How do you get the answer to your ques­tion? Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Teasers: Spot the Difference

Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon recently shared with our read­ers which brain areas and cog­ni­tive func­tions are engaged as we solve the type of brain teaser known as Spot the Dif­fer­ence, where we have to find the dif­fer­ences between two ver­sions of one image: Read the rest of this entry »

Mind Games @ Venture Capital Journal

The August issue of Ven­ture Cap­i­tal Jour­nal brings a very good piece on the emerg­ing brain fit­ness soft­ware  (also called “neu­rosoft­ware”) category:

Mind Games (sub­scrip­tion required)

– Dakim, Lumos Labs, Posit Sci­ence and other brain fit­ness star­tups are start­ing to gain mind share and cap­i­tal from ven­ture firms.

The reporter and I spoke as Lumos Labs received its $3m round, and we dis­cussed other fund­able start-ups, fea­tur­ing Cog­niFit. Which, as men­tioned over the week­end, just raised $5m.

If case you are a new Sharp­Brains reader, per­haps vis­it­ing us after read­ing this VCJ arti­cle, let me pro­vide a quick overview of the cat­e­gory and our Mar­ket Report (which is annual, not quar­terly as the arti­cle states):

A) Report High­lights

We esti­mate the size of the US brain fit­ness soft­ware mar­ket at $225M in 2007, up from $100m in 2005 (50% CAGR), ana­lyz­ing the size and brain fitness/ training markettrends of four cus­tomer seg­ments: con­sumers, health­care & insur­ance providers, K12 school sys­tems, and for­tune 1000 com­pa­nies, mil­i­tary, and sports teams. Two seg­ments fueled the mar­ket growth from 2005 to 2007: con­sumers (grew from $5m to $80m, 300% CAGR) and health­care & insur­ance providers (grew from $36m to $65m, 35% CAGR).

Ten Spe­cific High­lights from The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket 2008 report include:

1) 2007 was a sem­i­nal year for the US Brain Fit­ness soft­ware mar­ket, which reached $225 mil­lion in rev­enues up from an esti­mated $100 mil­lion in 2005.

2) Over 20 com­pa­nies are offer­ing tools to assess and train cog­ni­tive skills to four cus­tomer seg­ments: con­sumers; health­care and insur­ance providers; K12 school sys­tems; and For­tune 1000 com­pa­nies, the mil­i­tary, and sports teams.

Read the rest of this entry »

Top fun and brainy Haikus. Yours?

haikus brainRead­ers have con­tributed a good num­ber of haikus on brain-related top­ics. Below you have our favorite ones.

Our favorite fun and brainy Haikus

- Techne, the philoso­pher, wonders:

Solve the big ques­tions:
How do I know when I know?
Who knows the knower?

- Steve, the envi­ron­men­tal­ist, requests:

Neu­ro­plas­tic good.
Plas­tic, though lasts for­ever.
Always recycle!

Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Teasers to Exercise Our Minds: Our Top Five

Here you have 4 of the most pop­u­lar brain games in our blog, plus a bonus stress man­age­ment tip.

Brain Teaser 1. In which direc­tion is the bus pic­tured below traveling?


Read the rest of this entry »

Your Haiku, please?

Haiku brain exerciseIn our Top 50 Brain Teasers post, we con­cluded with the challenge:

#50. Can you write a haiku describ­ing your expe­ri­ence doing some of the pre­vi­ous teasers? The sim­ple rules: write 3 lines, which don’t need to rhyme, con­tain­ing 5,7, and 5 syl­la­bles. You can leave your haiku as a com­ment for extra points…

There has been a num­ber of great and fun tak­ers so far…enjoy their haikus below! And Happy Thanksgiving.

- Terry says:

New infor­ma­tion
Syn­the­siz­ing my knowl­edge
A for­ward movement

- Frank says:

Painfully easy
Sig­nif­i­cantly harder
Men­tal stimulus

- Mark says:

I thought I did well
Then I reviewed my answers
I am retarded

- Chuck says: Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Teasers and Games for the Brain: Test your Brain

Frontal LobesIt is always good to stim­u­late our minds and to learn a bit about how our brains work. Here you have a selec­tion of the 50 Brain Teasers that peo­ple have enjoyed the most in our blog and speak­ing engagements.

Fun exper­i­ments on how our brains work

1. Do you think you know the col­ors?: try the Stroop Test.

2. Can you count?: Bas­ket­ball atten­tion exper­i­ment (Interactive).

3. Who is this?: A very impor­tant lit­tle guy (Interactive).

4. How is this pos­si­ble?.

5. Take the Senses Chal­lenge (Interactive).

6. Are there more brain con­nec­tions or leaves in the Ama­zon?.

Atten­tionTwo In One Task

7. How are your divided atten­tion skills? check out “Inside and Out­side” (Inter­ac­tive, from Mind­Fit).

8. Can you walk and chew gum at the same time? try “Two in One” (Inter­ac­tive, from Mind­Fit)

9. Count the Fs in this sen­tence.

10. What do you see? can you alter­nate between 2 views?.

Mem­oryPicasso Task

11. Easy one…draw the face of a penny, please. Read the rest of this entry »

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