British Medical Journal Study Advocates Brain Training Software

Brain training software beats crosswords in improving cognitive function

Kudos for Cognitive Software such as Cognitive Labs and Nintendo

Washington, Nov 30: Brain training other than with the use of crossword puzzles can prove to be more effective in improving cognitive function, a new study has claimed.

The team drew data from the Iowa Healthy and Active Minds Study. In the setup, 681 participants 50 years and older were randomly assigned to testing groups.

One group received 10 hours of training under supervision, while another participated in one session of brain training with a four-hour follow-up session 11 months later.

The third group completed one session of brain training at home, and the fourth participated in a computerized crossword puzzle training session under supervision. Most people trained for two hours at a time.

Researchers used participants' "useful field of view", basically what’s noticeable out of the corner of the eye, as a means to measure progress.

With age, a person’s field shrinks but can be strengthened with practice. The training came in the form of a game that challenged participants to visually process multiple things on the screen at once.

So far, researchers found that participants using the computer program showed improvements in useful field of view and other cognitive tests eight weeks after training when compared to the crossword puzzle control group.

The effectiveness of such training is still debated by some researchers, though. Not all studies have suggested benefits from brain training programs, in part because it's difficult to prove that participants' progress during trained tasks translates to untrained tasks.

The study has been published in British Medical Journal Open.

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Brain Games or Action Games?

Video Games with a penchant for strong themes and intense action may indeed impact the pathways in the brain, as opposed to more subtle games. The debate between these two polarities has now been ongoing for almost a decade, as new scientific research shows.

Scene from Mass Effect 3

The study, conducted by Indiana University, consisted of the following:

22 healthy adult males, age 18 to 29, with low past exposure to violent video games were randomly assigned to two groups of 11. Members of the first group were instructed to play a shooting video game for 10 hours at home for one week and refrain from playing the following week. The second group did not play a violent video game at all during the two-week period.

Read More by following this link.

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The Science of Humor

The impact of humor on the mind:

He who laughs last usually has to have the joke explained. But then why bother? After all, nothing kills humor faster than analysis. That sentiment has long dogged humor studies, a field often disparaged as an affront, even an existential threat, to its subject matter. It’s just a joke: Don’t overthink it.

But what if humor (or mirth, in research speak) is intimately linked to thinking? What if we’d have trouble thinking without it? That’s the argument of “Inside Jokes: Using Humor to Reverse-Engineer the Mind” (MIT Press, 2011)

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Serious Games Sponsored by Government

There is More activity in the serious games field. The definition of serious gaming are those games with a focus on health or on specialized training or cognitive skills.

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Serious Games Sponsored by Government

There is More activity in the serious games field. The definition of serious gaming are those games with a health or focus on specialized training or cognitive skills.

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