Brain training games improve memory and multitasking but DON'T boost intelligence

11/18/13 | by Training Games | Categories: Play
By Victoria Woollaston
PUBLISHED: 09:22 EST, 9 October 2013 | UPDATED: 09:22 EST, 9 October 2013

• Brain training games found to improve someone's ability to recall facts
• Yet study finds they have no positive effect on problem solving or reason

Despite claims made by the manufacturers, brain training computer games don't actually make you smarter, according to a new study.

Researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology found playing the games can help improve someone's ability to multitask by increasing their 'working memory capacity' (WMC).

However, they have no positive effect on boosting the kind of intelligence needed to reason and solve problems.

Professor Engle studied 55 Georgia students during a 20-day brain boot camp. He used certain cognitive tasks to see if the games had any effect on improving either WMC or 'general fluid intelligence'.

WMC helps people hold more information and access it selectively at any one time, while fluid intelligence is used to gauge relationships, carry out complex reasoning, and solve unfamiliar problems.

Some believe that similarities between the two mean improving one will improve the other. However, Professor Engel explained: 'This assumes that the two constructs are the same thing, or that WMC is the basis for fluid intelligence.'

Just because working memory and intelligence are both used to complete tasks, Engle added it doesn't mean that they are directly linked.

'Height and weight in human beings are also strongly correlated, but few reasonable people would assume that height and weight are the same variable.

Professor Engle put the participants through a number of brain training tasks known as simple and complex 'span' tasks.
For the simple tasks they were shown items and asked to recall them in the order they saw them.
For complex tasks they were asked to remember the items while carrying out another task in between rounds.
A control group trained on a visual search task.
Each day the tasks got harder, so to keep the participants engaged with the 'training' they were paid extra for any gains in performance.
Only the group who trained with the complex games were better at other working memory tasks, while none of the groups showed any benefit at all for their fluid intelligence.

'If they were, gaining weight would make you taller and losing weight would make you shorter - those of us who gain and lose weight periodically can attest to the fact that that is not true.'

Georgia Tech scholar Tyler Harrison, who led the study, continued: 'For over 100 years, psychologists have argued that general memory ability cannot be improved, that there is little or no generalization of 'trained' tasks to 'untrained' tasks.

'So we were surprised to see evidence that new and untrained measures of working memory capacity may be improved with training on complex span tasks.'

Smart neurons: single dendrites can perform computations

11/06/13 | by Training Games | Categories: Play
UCL NEWS 28 October 2013

When you look at the hands of a clock or the streets on a map, your brain is effortlessly performing computations that tell you about the orientation of these objects. New research by UCL scientists has shown that these computations can be carried out by the microscopic branches of neurons known as dendrites, which are the receiving elements of neurons.

The study, published in the journal Nature and carried out by researchers based at the Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research at UCL, the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology in Cambridge and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, examined neurons in areas of the mouse brain which are responsible for processing visual input from the eyes.

The scientists achieved an important breakthrough: they succeeded in making incredibly challenging electrical and optical recordings directly from the tiny dendrites of neurons in the intact brain while the brain was processing visual information.

Dendrites act as miniature computing devices for detecting and amplifying specific types of input.

Professor Michael Hausser, Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research at UCL

These recordings revealed that visual stimulation produces specific electrical signals in the dendrites - bursts of spikes - which are tuned to the properties of the visual stimulus.

The results challenge the widely held view that this kind of computation is achieved only by large numbers of neurons working together, and demonstrate how the basic components of the brain are exceptionally powerful computing devices in their own right.

Senior author Professor Michael Hausser commented: “This work shows that dendrites, long thought to simply ‘funnel’ incoming signals towards the soma, instead play a key role in sorting and interpreting the enormous barrage of inputs received by the neuron. Dendrites thus act as miniature computing devices for detecting and amplifying specific types of input.

“This new property of dendrites adds an important new element to the “toolkit” for computation in the brain. This kind of dendritic processing is likely to be widespread across many brain areas and indeed many different animal species, including humans.”

So what have these games been teaching? And what can they teach?

11/06/13 | by Training Games | Categories: Play
The majority of commercial game designers have used the learning power of digital games to teach people how to play their games ... and to encourage them to keep on playing. Players do sometimes learn real-world content, depending on the subject matter of the game, but that's not usually the primary goal of the game. On the other hand, many educators believe that digital games can actually be used to teach pretty much any subject. Digital games are being used as teaching tools by the military, private industry and now in the classroom. How can games do such a good job of teaching so many different kinds of content? The designers of these 'learning' digital games construct the game play so that players can only master the game and have a chance of winning if they actually learn the content that needs to be learned. So if a player has to learn about ratios in order to feed the monsters and free a pet (goals that she's taken on because of her deep engagement in the game), it turns out that she's very, very likely to put in the effort to learn about ratios.

The upshot is that digital games are incredibly powerful teaching tools even when their only goal is to teach players how to play the game so they can entertain themselves. But when these tools are used to teach academic content and problem-solving skills that your students absolutely have to learn ... we think that the sky's the limit.

TGI invites our readers to tell us how they have successfully used games to teach and train. Write to [email protected]

What About Games Makes Them Good for Learning?

11/02/13 | by Training Games | Categories: Play
Digital games have become a major force in our culture. They even make more money than Hollywood movies. Digital games are ... everywhere.

And now they're entering a new realm - the classroom. Lots of people, including the ones at the National Science Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation, think digital games can help teach both standards-based academic content and 21st century thinking skills. No one's making these claims for any of the other kinds of media our kids love (action movies, graphic novels, dance music ...). So what's so special about digital games?

It's in the game.

The best digital games are efficient, fun and unique learning experiences. Just like you, the designers of these games have a deep understanding of what keeps people engaged and how they learn. They also know that the power of digital games has nothing to do with killing space aliens and everything to do with interactive game play that is inherently compelling regardless of the subject matter.

How do good games connect with kids and help them learn? Well, for starters ...

Kids love to make stuff. Games give them tools to make stuff.

Today's kids are used to being able to create and share their own media (blogs, podcasts, digital images, etc. etc.). But you may not always get the chance to let them do that kind of work in your classroom. Good digital games give players lots of opportunities to be creative. In fact, good games typically engage players in 'co-creating' the world of the game. Players make meaningful decisions about characters, storylines and environments that shape the game play and build their commitment to the experience.

Kids learn best by experience. Games teach through experience.

Anyone who's tried to teach kids the multiplication tables or the Pythagorean Theorem knows that kids have a hard time with abstract learning. Good digital games are never abstract. They always embed their learning in the experience of the game play. Players learn new skills and information in context, when they need to learn it ... to feed a monster, to free a pet or to escape from an enemy. Connecting learning to experience increases players' investment in learning, even while they may not even realize that they are learning.

Kids learn in different ways and at different speeds. Games are built to reach everyone who plays them.

One size never fits all for kids in the classroom (or anywhere else). Teachers always have to tailor their teaching to a wide range of learners. Good digital games have customized game play that meets everyone where they are. Almost every digital game has levels that allow players of varying skills to find a place in the game where they can succeed. And many games even detect players' learning styles and adjust game play to accommodate them. Good digital games provide truly differentiated instruction.

Kids like to explore and take chances. Games are built around player experimentation.

All kids love to experiment and take chances in their learning. That's how they learn new information and skills in their lives. Every teacher wants to encourage this kind of intellectual exploration, but the demands of high-stakes testing can limit your opportunities to do this in the classroom.

Good digital games reward experimentation. Players almost never read the instructions before starting a new game because they know that the best and most efficient way to learn a digital game is by playing it. They simply dig in and start making hypotheses about what will work in the game; they test out those hypotheses, refine them, and test them again until they learn the rules of the game and how they can win. And if you think that sounds a little like using the scientific method, well then we agree with you.

Good digital games reward 'failure.' Players inevitably make lots of 'wrong' hypotheses when they're learning a new game. And that can make it seem, from the outside, like players aren't getting anything at all from the game play. Kids understand this process, though, and are aware that only by continued 'failure' will they learn the right ways to move forward in the game. Digital games give them a very safe environment for relatively risk-free experimentation.

So what's the upshot of all of this? Well, if you'd like students to be engaged, invested in their learning, confident, creative and adventurous (and what teacher wouldn't?) ... you may want to consider using digital games.

Ultrasound Device Combined With Clot-Buster Safe for Stroke

11/02/13 | by Training Games | Categories: Play
Typically we insert articles on learning and the brain, but here is something new concerning stroke, that I thought our readers might be interested in. It is an article from Science news, but before you read on here are some stroke statistics:

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. More than 140,000 people die each year from stroke in the United States. Stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States.

Nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people over the age of 65. The risk of having a stroke more than doubles each decade after the age of 55. Stroke death rates are higher for African-Americans than for whites, even at younger ages.

The risk of ischemic stroke in current smokers is about double that of nonsmokers after adjustment for other risk factors. High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for stroke.

Oct. 24, 2013 — A study led by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) showed that a hands-free ultrasound device combined with a clot-busting drug was safe for ischemic stroke patients. The device, which uses UTHealth technology licensed to Cerevast Therapeutics, Inc., is placed on the stroke patient's head and delivers ultrasound to enhance the effectiveness of the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). Unlike the traditional hand-held ultrasound probe that's aimed at a blood clot, the hands-free device used 18 separate probes and showers the deep areas of the brain where large blood clots cause severe strokes.

"Our goal is to open up more arteries in the brain and help stroke patients recover," said Barreto, an attending physician at Mischer Neuroscience Institute. "This technology would have a significant impact on patients, families and society if we could improve outcomes by another 10 percent or more by adding ultrasound to patients who've already received tPA."

In the first study of its kind, 20 moderately severe ischemic stroke patients (12 men and eight women, average age 63 years) received intravenous tPA up to 4.5 hours after symptoms occurred and two hours exposure to 2-MHz pulsed wave transcranial ultrasound.

Researchers reported that 13 (or 65 percent) patients either returned home or to rehabilitation 90 days after the combination treatment. After three months, five of the 20 patients had no disability from the stroke and one had slight disability.

Pages: << 1 ... 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 >>

February 2015
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
 << <   > >>
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
We are your business and classroom solution for low-cost PowerPoint training games, ice breakers and team building games.


XML Feeds