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Medical Brain games don't boost your brain power.

  1. Apr 22, 2010 #1


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  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 22, 2010 #2
    what ive found is that games that tell you that you are gradually improving do actually help your brainpower in a psychosomatic way.
    bless the human mind, for convincing its better makes it better haha
  4. Apr 22, 2010 #3
  5. Apr 22, 2010 #4


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    If it does reduce Dementia/Alzheimer's, I certainly won't stop playing Sudoku. I guess what you are born with is what you get, but you can do a lot to prevent your brain from idling away!
  6. Apr 22, 2010 #5


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    Good point. Even if "brain calisthenics" won't increase your brain power, they have to be better than doing nothing. And I bet doing nothing has to be better than watching daytime TV :tongue2:.
  7. Apr 22, 2010 #6
    Not only that, but video-games of ALL types have been shown (in a study which I will find tomorrow morning and cite here) to increase scoring on tests to measure multitasking, concentration, etc. The theory put forward is that, for instance, even a game such as the Splinter Cell games, require that you be aware of:

    1.) Your in-game surroundings
    2.) Sound, Video, etc.
    3.) Your inventory, and an "internal map" to navigate.
    4.) Raw reaction speed.

    It's no wonder in my mind that this is the case, but the study in question was about increasing INTELLIGENCE. I can't think of any study which has shown an activity or regime which increases one's overall intelligence. You can become more facile with what you have, and keep the wheels greased, so to speak... but making you SMARTER? Naaah.
  8. Apr 23, 2010 #7


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    Here's a http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100420/full/4641111a.html".

    I think I agree with some of the reservations here. You have to be careful about what exactly you're claiming, e.g.:
    - That 'brain games' make your brain apt at other tasks or improve your overall intelligence
    - That they do this more effectively than other mental tasks.
    - That they are better than being more passive mentally, or idle.

    I'm no neurologist but as lisab said; you'd think that something would always be better than nothing.

    One thing I kind of wonder about is variation, though. A seasoned Sudoko player (or player of many types of games) is more or less following the same patterns of thought the whole time (or algorithm if you will). I wonder how that constrasts against activities that force you to constantly think in new ways (i.e. learning)?
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  9. Apr 23, 2010 #8
    Hmmmm, maybe contrast with crossword puzzles.... you might get used to clues, but it's always a novel exercise and has been studied more than Sudoku.
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  10. Apr 23, 2010 #9


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    A variation of brain games couldn't hurt. Mahjongg, word search, solitaire, & knitting-that's my variety :)
  11. Apr 23, 2010 #10
    I love scrabble, I would think that is also a good mind game.
  12. Apr 23, 2010 #11
    As with crossword puzzles, there are a number of studies which show benefits in overall cognition (not overall, but day to day intelligence basically) from Scrabble, and similar games. Any game that makes you associate immidiate stimuli with thoughtful recall of memory, and then synthesis to make it work, seems to confer a similar benefit.

    The study I mentioned about video games showed that even "non-gamers" improved ~15% on the tests given after a series of brief gaming sessions. "Gamers" seemed to score ~33% (this is from semi-dim memory, hence the prox) on those same tests. Now, one might argue those tests don't actually measure a real improvement, but it seems to be a logical extension of gaming overall.

    There is also one other element: FUN. :smile: Who knows how much of this is just the result of us being deeply engaged in a mentally taxing AND fun activity? We're animals with a long history of needing to play games, to learn, and to reinforce lessons. I'm not surprised that play needs to be a constant part of our lives.

    EDIT: Here are a couple of studies/letters/articles which are not hyping anything, but exploring aspects of HOW games modify attention, improve some elements of cognition, etc:

    Also, the recent study checked IQ, and other Intelligence tests... and I don't think reasonable people believe that overall intelligence as measured is likely to improve OR decline in the absence of disease or some radical new drug. Improving memory, vocuabulary, recall... these were not measured.

    http://www.bcs.rochester.edu/people/Daphne/GreenandBavelier.pdf [Broken]

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  13. Apr 23, 2010 #12


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    I've always wondered about chess, and even more complex strategy games.
  14. Apr 23, 2010 #13
    Chess, Go, Othello, etc... seem to be a better reflection of intelligence, and may improve attentional/executive (frontal/prefrontal lobe) function. Those are games about planning and anticipation, math, and empathy (what will your opponent do?). It doesn't seem to engage the brain as widely as crosswords, which require that you recall many disparate elements, interpret clues, and anticipate the overall structure of the puzzle as you fill it out.
  15. Apr 23, 2010 #14


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    You posted something about a month ago regarding the number of people playing "games" on the internet. I thought it was funny, because you're an associate farmviller.

    About 3 weeks ago, I decided that it would be really fun if you could create at PF version: A world where you can have all the tools at your disposal to create flying vehicles, design eco-smart homes, fabricate land vehicles that allow you get back and forth to work more efficiently....

    But that's just me.
  16. Apr 23, 2010 #15
    I've played quite a lot of chess in my lifetime. The longest game was 7 hours. Chess is not only watching the board but also the other player. Face to face, eye to eye, sharing a bottle or two of wine is nice. Woman and man silent with a small grin or nod here and there along with some stare downs. You hear the breathing and notice the slightest body movements. It’s intense, yet relaxing. It's a slow dance of sorts with a high level of mental stimuli that keeps you focused. The last gentleman I played with was a champion, but I won. It was a fair game. No crying "wolf":smile: The main thing is you learn not to be in such a rush and to observe, the little important details prior to making your final move. There seems to be levels of thinking. Different states of mind that can be activated easier over time.

    P.s.I'm eating a fresh made peanut butter cookie. The texture and taste is especially good right now as I examine it. Oh, let's not forget Hubble Space Telescope 20th Anniversary is today! Nature is celebrating good stuff on their website. Yummy. Image the brain power that went into this project:
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2010
  17. Apr 24, 2010 #16
    I think you just described the "empathy" portion of Chess as well as I've ever heard.
  18. May 2, 2010 #17


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    You'll get better at whatever skill the game requires you to have. For first person games like Quake, understanding 3D space was a major part of the game. You see some special item in an area that you can't get to and you try to figure out how to get to it. It might involve going up a floor, zig zagging around until you are over that location, then looking to see if there's a way down. Those old shooter games also had a lot of maps in them, so you'd get good at reading maps.

    Probably one of the most interesting mathematical lessons learned from a game is when dealing with X + Y = 1. A good example of this is the dodge rate in world of warcraft. Either you get hit or you dodge, so (hit + dodge) = 1. This can be written as hit = (1 - dodge). If you take the derivative of this with respect to a dodge rate, you get:
    d_hit/d_dodge = -1, so then
    d_hit = (-1)d_dodge
    Then put on this on a scale relative to where you started:
    d_hit/hit = (-1)d_dodge / (1 - dodge)
    or simplify it as:
    relative change = -1dX / (1 - X)

    This is a very common expression and you'll see it a lot in the future. When my class started dealing with the theory behind induction motors, I had a better understanding of the numbers because I had already seen those equations back when I played world of warcraft (a dev on the forum was explaining that they used "diminishing returns" to keep dX / [1 -X] constant). Recently I had to use this expression when talking about unemployment rates; see picture below:
    http://img51.imageshack.us/img51/6111/employment.png [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  19. May 3, 2010 #18
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