Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Icon

Darwin’s adult neuroplasticity

Charles Darwin 1880Charles Dar­win (1809–1882)‘s auto­bi­og­ra­phy (full text free online) includes some very insight­ful refec­tions on the evo­lu­tion of his own mind dur­ing his mid­dle-age, show­cas­ing the pow­er of the brain to rewire itself through expe­ri­ence (neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty) dur­ing our whole life­times-not just when we are youngest.

He wrote these paragraphs at the age of 72 (I have bold­ed some key sen­tences for empha­sis, the whole text makes great read­ing):

I have said that in one respect my mind has changed dur­ing the last twen­ty or thir­ty years. Up to the age of thir­ty, or beyond it, poet­ry of many kinds, such as the works of Mil­ton, Gray, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shel­ley, gave me great plea­sure, and even as a school­boy I took intense delight in Shake­speare, espe­cial­ly in the his­tor­i­cal plays. I have also said that for­mer­ly pic­tures gave me con­sid­er­able, and music very great delight. But now for many years I can­not endure to read a line of poet­ry: I have tried late­ly to read Shake­speare, and found it so intol­er­a­bly dull that it nau­se­at­ed me. I have also almost lost my taste for pic­tures or music. Music gen­er­al­ly sets me think­ing too ener­get­i­cal­ly on what I have been at work on, instead of giv­ing me plea­sure. I retain some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me the exquis­ite delight which it for­mer­ly did. On the oth­er hand, nov­els which are works of the imag­i­na­tion, though not of a very high order, have been for years a won­der­ful relief and plea­sure to me, and I often bless all nov­el­ists. A sur­pris­ing num­ber have been read aloud to me, and I like all if mod­er­ate­ly good, and if they do not end unhap­pi­ly– against which a law ought to be passed. A nov­el, accord­ing to my taste, does not come into the first class unless it con­tains some per­son whom one can thor­ough­ly love, and if a pret­ty woman all the bet­ter.

This curi­ous and lam­en­ta­ble loss of the high­er aes­thet­ic tastes is all the odd­er, as books on his­to­ry, biogra­phies, and trav­els (inde­pen­dent­ly of any sci­en­tif­ic facts which they may con­tain), and essays on all sorts of sub­jects inter­est me as much as ever they did. My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grind­ing gen­er­al laws out of large col­lec­tions of facts, but why this should have caused the atro­phy of that part of the brain alone, on which the high­er tastes depend, I can­not con­ceive. A man with Read the rest of this entry »

Training the Brains of Fighter Pilots and Basketball Players

We are a brain fit­ness cen­ter because we want to offer the best infor­ma­tion, tools and sup­port on how to exer­cise our brains. Same way you join the gym to stay in shape and find the best machines and per­son­al train­ers.

One of the “tools” or “machines” we offer was designed under the sci­en­tif­ic super­vi­sion of Pro­fes­sor Daniel Gopher and his team for bas­ket­ball play­ers: click here to read our inter­view with him. And here for a fun clip with the Mem­phis Tigers.

Our part­ner ACE just issued this press release:

Fight­er Pilots Help Pur­due and Long Beach State Reach the Tour­na­ment

The Bas­ket­ball Intel­li­Gym Improves Deci­sion-Mak­ing

STUDIO CITY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The same tech­nol­o­gy ini­tial­ly devel­oped to train Israeli fight­er pilots on the cog­ni­tive, brain lev­el has been an inte­gral part of the train­ing reg­i­men for both Long Beach State and Pur­due, two teams earn­ing their first NCAA tour­na­ment births since 1995 and 2003 respec­tive­ly.

The inno­v­a­tive Bas­ket­ball Intel­li­Gym soft­ware pro­gram has been proven to improve real-time deci­sion-mak­ing and exe­cu­tion for thou­sands of bas­ket­ball play­ers world­wide and play­ers on more than a dozen col­lege bas­ket­ball teams. Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Training with Cognitive Simulations

Today we will con­tin­ue our review of the ben­e­fits of brain train­ing for spe­cif­ic occu­pa­tions: in this case, pilots and bas­ket­ball play­ers. The lessons can be rel­e­vant not only for cor­po­rate train­ing but also for edu­ca­tion and brain health & well­ness.

To do so, we will select quotes from our inter­view last year with one of the major sci­en­tists in the field of cog­ni­tive sim­u­la­tions, Pro­fes­sor Daniel Gopher. You can read the full inter­view here.

Prof. Gopher pub­lished an award-win­ning arti­cle in 1994, Gopher, D., Weil, M. and Baraket, T. (1994), Trans­fer of skill from a com­put­er game train­er to flight, Human Fac­tors 36, 1–19., that con­sti­tutes a key mile­stone in the cog­ni­tive engi­neer­ing field.

On Cog­ni­tive Train­ing and Cog­ni­tive Sim­u­la­tions

AF: Tell us a bit about your over­all research inter­ests

DG: My main inter­est has been how to expand the lim­its of human atten­tion, infor­ma­tion pro­cess­ing and response capa­bil­i­ties which are crit­i­cal in com­plex, real-time deci­sion-mak­ing, high-demand tasks such as fly­ing a mil­i­tary jet or play­ing pro­fes­sion­al bas­ket­ball. Using a ten­nis anal­o­gy, my goal has been, and is, how to help devel­op many “Wimbledon”-like cham­pi­ons. Each with their own styles, but per­form­ing to their max­i­mum capac­i­ty to suc­ceed in their envi­ron­ments.

What research over the last 15–20 years has shown is that cog­ni­tion, or what we call think­ing and per­for­mance, is real­ly a set of skills that we can train sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly. And that com­put­er-based cog­ni­tive train­ers or “cog­ni­tive sim­u­la­tions” are the most effec­tive and effi­cient way to do so.

This is an impor­tant point, so let me empha­size it. What we have dis­cov­ered is that a key fac­tor for an effec­tive trans­fer from train­ing envi­ron­ment to real­i­ty is that the train­ing pro­gram ensures “Cog­ni­tive Fideli­ty”, this is, it should faith­ful­ly rep­re­sent the men­tal demands that hap­pen in the real world. Tra­di­tion­al approach­es focus instead on Read the rest of this entry »

Online Brain Fitness Gym

See our sec­ond press release below, and vis­it our Press Room for the great press we are start­ing to get about our brain fit­ness gym.

Spe­cial Offer: For a lim­it­ed time, you can receive a com­pli­men­ta­ry copy of our Brain Fit­ness 101 e-Guide: Answers to your Top 25 Ques­tions, writ­ten by Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg and Alvaro Fer­nan­dez, by sub­scrib­ing to our month­ly newslet­ter. You can sub­scribe Here.

Sharp­Brains intro­duces First Online Brain Fit­ness Cen­ter

Unique, Full-Ser­vice, Sci­ence-Based Fit­ness Cen­ter Ush­ers in the Next Work­out Rev­o­lu­tion: Men­tal Exer­cise

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Thirty years after the emer­gence of the exer­cise boom, the fit­ness rev­o­lu­tion has final­ly gone to people’s heads: SharpBrains.com has launched the first online brain fit­ness cen­ter. Com­plete with a vari­ety of sci­ence-based men­tal exer­cise equip­ment, per­son­al brain train­ers, and near­ly 200 arti­cles, inter­ac­tive blog post­ings and inter­views with indus­try experts, Sharp­Brains is spear­head­ing the evo­lu­tion of the fit­ness indus­try to include a sound mind as well as a healthy body.

The new men­tal exer­cise move­ment is found­ed on using struc­tured, com­put­er-based brain fit­ness rou­tines tai­lored to each member’s spe­cif­ic needs and lev­el of abil­i­ty. Just as crunch­es and kick-box­ing tone abs and increase car­dio strength, Read the rest of this entry »

Hello: may we ask…

…a few ques­tions: how did you find us, what we are doing well, what we can do bet­ter?

We have just found out that more than 600 people are receiv­ing our feeds, but we only know-and just a bit- the 50–60 who leave com­ments and link to us. We enjoy hav­ing so many read­ers not just in the US but in Europe, the Mid­dle East, Asia, Australia…(thanks Google Ana­lyt­ics!).

Would you mind writ­ing a com­ment to allow us to learn about you and your inter­ests, and also include your feed­back for us? If you have a blog, please write the URL so we can pay a vis­it.

Enjoy the week­end, and thanks a lot for your time and atten­tion!

Car­o­line and Alvaro

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

Follow us and Engage via…

twitter_logo_header
RSS Feed

Search for anything brain-related in our article archives

Enter Your Email to receive Sharp­Brains free, monthly eNewslet­ter:

Join more than 50,000 Sub­scribers and stay informed and engaged.