Archive for IntelliGym

Serious Games: Who Said Games Had To Be Fun?

Who Said Games Had To Be Fun?
Kotaku.com, NY -Jul 1, 2007
“In a stark counterpoint to the Slate editorial entitled ‘World of Borecraft,’ Gamasutra has their own feature – this one on the rise of serious games and …”

To support the point: we see more and more science-based “serious games” used for brain training to improve cognitive skills: MindFit and Posit Science, Cogmed, Basketball IntelliGym, emWave in Golf Digest. And more are coming. You can keep informed by reading our brain health blog and Brain Fitness Topics section.

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We have moved

Hello dear readers: after a transition period, we have definitively moved to http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog

we-moved.jpg

Please visit us there if you want to keep reading our (close to) daily articles. Please update your feed, and any technorati/ stumbleupon/ del.ic.ious account you may have pointing at this old address. Our new location:
http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog

We won’t be posting more articles here.

We’ll see you there!
-Caroline & Alvaro

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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 Continue Reading

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First Online Brain Fitness Center

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

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, programs offered at the brain fitness center target and help train essential core mental muscles to improve memory, concentration, stress management, and decision-making skills. Mental exercise has also been shown to help delay the onset of age-related decline and even dementias such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

“People are realizing that cross-training their brains in addition to their bodies is essential to over-all health,” said Keep Reading

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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 HERE 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.

Please remember we have moved to a new URL-that’s why we want your comment there, and not in this blog.

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

Caroline and Alvaro

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Neuroscience Interview Series: on learning and “brain gyms”

Given that we are getting new readers let’s re-introduce our Neuroscience Interview Series. If you click on the category (in the right bar) that says Neuroscience Interview Series, you will find the updated list of interviews we have conducted (and also some that have found elsewhere, such as the one with Posit Science’s Dr. Michael Merzenich and Dr. John Ratey).

The interviews we have conducted and published so far, with most recent first:

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Why are so many brain fitness programs appearing now?

Here is question ten of 25 from Brain Fitness 101: Answers to Your Top 25 Questions. To download the complete version, please click here.

Question:
Why are so many brain fitness programs appearing now?

Key Points:

  • Research on cognitive exercise and its clinical applications and tools have been around for a long time in hospitals and the military.
  • Gaming has become so popular and widespread, that it is an easy and natural medium to utilize for brain fitness.
  • The science is being published showing that brain exercise leads to enhanced neuroplasticity (growth of new neurons and connections between them) throughout life.

Answer:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Cogmed, Freeze-Framer, IntelliGym, MindFit, Posit Science

We are spending more time talking to journalists these days. A frequent question we receive is, “OK, which computer-based programs do you consider to be Brain Fitness Programs, not just “games” for pure fun”?.

Our answer: the rate of development of new programs by neuroscientists worldwide is really increasing, and there are already a few out there that combine good underlying science with embedded quality assessments and user-friendly guidelines and exercises from a fitness and prevention (vs. medical “prescription”) perspective. Some of these are:

Cogmed Working Memory Training program (RoboMemo), helps children with attention deficits to overcome the working memory gap. and is distributed exclusively through selected clinical providers.

Freeze-Framer is a biometric-based system that helps people of all ages and occupations (from students to nurses and traders) get into The Zone of optimal learning and performance by managing the negative effects of stress and anxiety. Our partner is the Institute of HearMath.

IntelliGym  provides a mental workout to improve core basketball abilities, such as coordination, attention control, peripheral vision, and perception.  Yes, this can be trained. It is basketball specific, so we don’t recommend it for other sports. Our partner is ACE.

MindFit helps train 14 different cognitive functions that are important for healthy aging. Even if the activities are helpful for people of all ages (I personally use it as my “brain gym” during flights, being in my mid-30s), the look & feel is more appropriate for people over 50, so we recommend it mainly for that group. Our partner is Vigorous Mind.

Posit Science offers an intensive program for training core auditory processing abilities. Auditory processing is one of the areas that typically decline with age, so this would be a great starting point for anyone, usually above 60 given the marketing we see in their website, who may be experiencing problems with his/ her hearing and understanding capabilities. We do not offer this program through our website, but certainly respect their scientists and research.

We are constantly looking for new ones, so keep tuned.

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This is a Brain Fitness Center. (A what??)

A New Year’s Fitness Resolution for your Head

SharpBrains Is the First Online Brain Fitness Center to Offer Evaluations, Mental Exercise Programs and Personal Coaching to Improve Memory, Concentration, and Stress Management

New Year’s Resolutions

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Getting in shape is at the top of almost everyone’s list of New Year’s resolutions. However, this holiday season, leading experts are encouraging Americans to join a different kind of health club: one for their brains.SharpBrains.com is the first online brain fitness center dedicated to providing personalized brain fitness evaluations; mental exercise programs to stimulate the brain and improve stress management; and personal online mental exercise coaching. Similar to a trainer at a physical fitness center, SharpBrains’ customers can initially undergo an evaluation of their needs followed by subsequent recommendations for a suitable computer-based program to target and strengthen essential core “mental muscles.”   “Research has shown that contrary to popular belief, the brain is constantly undergoing neurogenesis, the development of new neurons and dendrites,” said Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, Clinical Professor of Neurology at New York University School of Medicine and Chief Scientific Advisor & Co-Founder of SharpBrains. “Learning and targeted mental exercise promotes neurogenesis the creation of new neurons just as muscle growth is promoted through physical exercise.”

“More than a decade of clinical studies have shown that structured brain fitness training that utilizes novelty and variety, and regularly increases its challenge to the brain, will actively stimulate neurogenesis and improve memory, concentration, decision-making and planning skills, reaction time, stress management, and other core capabilities as well as help delay the onset of age-related decline and even dementias,” he added.

SharpBrains presently offers several interactive computer programs targeting different mental muscles:

  • MindFit is designed to help adults maintain a sharp, agile mind through exercises for memory, problem-solving, planning, and other skills.
  • Freeze-Framer ® Interactive Learning System is a biofeedback-based software program designed to teach users to prevent and manage the negative effects of stress, which have been linked with memory loss and sub-optimal performance in school, work, and sports.
  • IntelliGym teaches “game-intelligence” skills to professional and amateur basketball players including coordination, attention control, peripheral vision, perception, and mental stamina.
  • RoboMemo is a working memory training program shown to help children with attention deficits improve their overall condition and executive functioning

More programs are scheduled for future release. Continue Reading

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MindFit, IntelliGym, RoboMemo, FreezeFramer

MindFit, IntelliGym, RoboMemo, Freeze-Framer? Is this a puzzle? As you may have noticed, we just started to offer through the website some of the Brain Fitness programs we have been talking about. For over a year we have been searching for best programs worldwide, and here you have some of the programs we have found. We have interviewed in this blog the key scientists behind two of them, and will interview the rest over the next weeks. You will be hearing more about these programs in the general media in the next months, as the field of science-based Brain Fitness and programs like this mature. Here you have a quick overview of these programs: Read the rest of this entry »

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