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Brain Games for Kids, Adults…and Chimps

examples of working memoryDid you read about the recent exper­i­ment where young chimps dis­played amaz­ing visu­al work­ing mem­o­ry capa­bil­i­ty, beat­ing humans? You can watch a short video about it 

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And, you can now test your own skills with the Chimp Game!

 

PS: Enjoy these 50 brain teasers to test your cog­ni­tive abil­i­ty.

 

Every man can, if he so desires, sculpt his own brain

Santiago Ramon y CajalA Span­ish friend and neu­ro­sci­en­tist just remind­ed me of a great quote by San­ti­a­go Ramon y Cajal (1852–1934): “todo hom­bre puede ser, si se lo pro­pone, escul­tor de su pro­pio cere­bro”.

Which means: “Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculp­tor his own brain”.

Which real­ly means: “Each of us can lit­er­al­ly refine the struc­ture and func­tion of our brains, the same way we can do so with the rest of our body mus­cles” (my 2 cents…).

Our dai­ly thoughts and actions, learn­ings, med­i­ta­tion, cog­ni­tive ther­a­py, the grow­ing num­ber of soft­ware-based pro­grams, and more, are “sculpt­ing” tools…no more no less than tools. Good for some goals and con­texts, like improv­ing con­cen­tra­tion and mem­o­ry, becom­ing “sharp­er”, help­ing pro­tect our minds from decline, or man­age stress bet­ter.

I just bought Cajal’s auto­bi­og­ra­phy, titled Rec­ol­lec­tions of My Life (thanks, Mind Hacks). Will be writ­ing about it in a month or so-I have too many books on the table now, and only one brain.

If you want to read some good neu­ro­science blog posts, you can find a nice col­lec­tion in the lat­est edi­tion of Encephalon, host­ed by Dr Deb­o­rah Serani.

For gen­er­al sci­ence ones, try Tan­gled Bank. For edu­ca­tion, enjoy The Edu­ca­tion Car­ni­val.

Final­ly, I will be host­ing the next edi­tion of Car­ni­val of the Cap­i­tal­ists (I don’t real­ly love the name…but it is the old­est and best blog car­ni­val for busi­ness and eco­nom­ics). If you have some good posts, please sub­mit them here.

For some addi­tion­al thoughts on sculpt­ing brains, intel­li­gence, and becom­ing smarter, you can check this post.

Brain Fitness news.

A cou­ple of good recent arti­cles:

(You can join our month­ly newslet­ter by sub­scrib­ing at the top of this page).

Brain Games will give adults all the chal­lenge they can han­dle

Bal­ti­more Sun, MD. Mar 22, 2007.The reporter pro­vides a great sur­vey of prod­ucts. The only parts I find miss­ing are:

1) what spe­cif­ic cog­ni­tive skill/s is/are being trained by each prod­uct? if we under­stand that the brain has a vari­ety of struc­tur­al and func­tion­al areas, it becomes evi­dent that dif­fer­ent pro­grams may be train­ing dif­fer­ent “men­tal mus­cles”.

2) How does each pro­gram enable the user mea­sure progress in an objec­tive way? I’d say this is the main dif­fer­ence between “games” and brain fit­ness pro­grams. If you have a wild­ly dif­fer­ent brain age every­time you try…that so-called brain age is not very cred­i­ble.

Does brain exer­cise fight demen­tia?
Min­neapo­lis Star Tri­bune (sub­scrip­tion), MN. Mar 18, 2007.As the arti­cle men­tions, no pro­gram can claim to “pre­vent Alzheimer’s”. And I haven’t seen Posit Sci­ence (or us) claim such a thing, or imply it. But what can be claimed is mean­ing­ful: Read the rest of this entry »

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