Posts Tagged ‘dual-n-back’

Brain Training Report – Masud – Stage 3, Session 1

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Stage: 3

Session number: 1

Average n-back: 2.2

Wow this one is really hard…I hope I can make progress! When n=3, it’s almost impossible to keep 3 squares and 3 letters in my head at the same time while rotating them each step…

MindSparke Working Memory Training

This post was submitted by masud.

Increase IQ: New Study Shows Long Term Gains

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

The brain fitness researchers Suzanne Jaeggi and Martin Buschkuehl who first demonstrated cognitive gains from n-back training back in 2008 have now published follow up research showing that the gains hold long term.

Using n-back brain training software for a group of school children, the researchers tested the children’s IQs before and after training and then again after three months.

In a recent interview, the senior brain fitness researcher, Dr. Jonides, who supervised the study made the following observations:

“These new studies demonstrate that the more training people have on the dual n-back task, the greater the improvement in fluid intelligence,” Jonides said. “It’s actually a dose-response effect. And we also demonstrate that the much simpler single n-back training using spatial cues has the same positive effect.”

In addition to a gain in IQ the researchers found that the training made children less likely to be distracted by invalid or irrelevant information.

“Psychologically, training made them more conservative,” Jonides said.

They also studied how the training affected brain activity.

“We found two effects of our training regimen,” he said. “After training, people had reduced amounts of blood flow in active brain regions when they were doing training tasks. And they had increased amounts of blood flow in those regions when they were not doing training tasks.

“In some ways, this is much like training a muscle in the body, and in some ways, it is different. When new muscle fibers have been grown as a result of training, they require greater blood flow when they are not being used. However, by contrast, when the new muscles are in use, they require more blood, unlike the trained regions of the brain.”

Brain Training Report – Session 273

Monday, July 12th, 2010

brain training dual n-back

Brain Fitness Pro Session 273

Session number: 273

Average n-back: 11.2

Duration (estimate in minutes): 40

After a nearly two weeks of not training (returning from a vacation) I reached my second highest dual n-back score today – 11.2.

Brain Fitness Pro working-memory training report

This post was submitted by martin.

Double-Session Training – Shaking Off The Rust

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

After a break of about a month I’m now three days into my renewed double-session training. Despite the time commitment I’m again finding this approach quite rewarding. I feel as though it’s already given me a needed boost in focus and follow-through. (I’ve completed several tasks in the last couple of days that had been outstanding for a while.)

Today I started with a session of “nines” and then hit a very good level of focus in a session of regular dual n-back.

"Nines" - Session 89

dual n-back - Session 261

Brain Training – Dual N-Back 11.3

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Well, I continue to be pleasantly perplexed by the progress I’ve made since I started training with a combination of dual n-back and “nines”. After a new dual n-back high on Friday of 10.9, today I reached 11.3, staying at n=13 for several rounds. “Nines” score today was 10.1.

Dual n-Back Brain Training - Session 244

Dual n-Back Brain Training - Session 244

Training progress for mere mortals – session 303

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

A few days ago i broke through the n = 6 barrier with a average n back score of 6.05.

The thing that still fascinates me about this is that I’m still seeing slow continuous improvement in my scores. It hasn’t been easy or rapid but steady and pretty continuous. I have felt and seen the difference that clearer thinking can make in day to day and professional life.

It’s really remarkable to reach a max average n back greater than 6… and now i can do 5′s almost without thinking… that just freaks me out.

I’ve been keeping track of my scores in a spreadsheet which enables me to look back on my progress several different ways: number of training days vs progress, number of training sessions vs progress and calendar time vs progress. I’ve completed 303 sessions along the way over the past 9 months.

The most positive and consistent correlate seems to be number of training days with n=back progress.  The graph correlating calendar days to training progress is fascinating in showing a long plateau around n=5 last summer.

Thanks to all who have posted in this blog for inspiration and motivation to keep going.

The key learning from this, for me, is that continuous if not rapid improvement in your working memory is possible whether you start out as a genius or not. Hard work can pay off just stick with it.  Benefits correlated with improvement in working memory are available to all of us.

Working Memory Training Report – Ronnette – Session 19

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Session number: 19

Average n: 2.6

I’m finally done with the 19 session!!!! I feel great!

This post was submitted by Ronnette.

Advice On Mastering n=5

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

I had a request through e-mail for tips on mastering n=5. I thought this would be a good subject for a post. Please chip in if you have other thoughts…

n=5 seems to be a pivotal n-back level. For most people on the blog 5 seems to be the largest single chunk that we can hold and repeat. This may also relate to how many items one can comfortably rehearse in two-and-a-half to three seconds. (That’s how much time we have between items.)

I would encourage this approach:

1. Pause before every block at 5. Imagine the rhythm of 5. Develop some sense of affection for the rhythm, even if it’s faked. Bring a smile to your face, even and welcome the opportunity to visit with 5.

2. As you begin the block, build up the first five item pairs in the sequence slowly. You have three whole seconds for each new item pair. As the second item pair appears, go back and re-fix the first item pair. As the third appears, go back and re-fix the first and second item pairs. Do this all the way up to 5. (When I say re-fix, I mean visualize the series in your mind’s eye and at the same time rehearse the letter sequence in your head.)

3. Now, as the sixth item pair appears, don’t panic! Simply go back to the second item pair and re-fix 2, 3, 4, 5, and then add the new 6th pair.

4. Try to keep this up, dropping the oldest and rehearsing the new set of 5 as you go.

5. If you get lost, simply start again, fixing a new starting point. You can start a set of 5 wherever you want. And you can still succeed even if you miss a few items altogether.

I realize that this advice suggests rehearsal and mindfulness and goes against the idea that we can “feel” the hits. But I think perhaps we need to master an n-value mindfully before we can feel it.

Working-Memory Training Report – Shaun – Session 50

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Session number: 50!!

Average n-back: 5.05

Duration (min.): 30

Session 04 on Fr28Nov average of 2.3
Session 05 on Sa29Nov average of 2.4
Session 06 on Su30Nov average of 2.95
Session 07 on Tu02Dec average of 2.75
Session 08 on Th04Dec average of 3.35
Session 09 on Fr05Dec average of 3.4
Session 10 on Sa06Dec average of 3.65
Session 11 on Su07Dec average of 3.7
Session 12 on Mo08Dec average of 3.8
Session 13 on Tu09Dec average of 4.25
Session 14 on We10Dec average of 4.1
Session 15 on Th11Dec average of 4.4
Session 16 on Fr12Dec average of 4.5
Session 17 on Su14Dec average of 4.2
Session 18 on Mo15Dec average of 4.3
Session 19 on Tu16Dec average of 4.55
Session 20 on Th18Dec average of 4.3
Session 21 on Fr19Dec average of 4.45
Session 22 on Sa20Dec average of 4.5
Session 23 on Su21Dec average of 4.65
Session 24 on Mo22Dec average of 4.8
Session 25 on Tu23Dec average of 4.4
Session 26 on We24Dec average of 4.85
Session 27 on Tu30Dec average of 4.4
Session 28 on Mo05Jan average of 4.55
Session 29 on Tu06Jan average of 4.85
Session 30 on We07Jan average of 4.9
Session 31 on Th08Jan average of 5.1
Session 32 on Fr09Jan average of 4.9
Session 33 on Sa10Jan average of 5.05
Session 34 on Su11Jan average of 5.25
Session 35 on Tu13Jan average of 5
Session 36 on Th15Jan average of 4.9
Session 37 on Fr16Jan average of 5.25
Session 38 on Sa17Jan average of 4.6
Session 39 on Sa17Jan average of 5.35
Session 40 on Su18Jan average of 4.75
Session 41 on Mo19Jan average of 4.9
Session 42 on Mo19Jan average of 5.5
Session 43 on Tu20Jan average of 5.15
Session 44 on We21Jan average of 5.2
Session 45 on Th22Jan average of 4.85
Session 46 on Fr23Jan average of 5
Session 47 on Sa24Jan average of 4.65
Session 48 on Sa24Jan average of 5.05
Session 49 on Su25Jan average of ?
Session 50 on Su25Jan average of 5.05

I wanted to do fifty training sessions, and I did it!

I learned that my score on an n-back task can increase from 2.30 (or so) to 5.0 (or so) with about fifty training sessions.

Based on my experience, the next step is that I am going to take five days to consolidate the gains, then on day six (Sat-31-Jan, within reason) carry out two or three on-line IQ tests, and after that make another decision.

The BFPro Training has been personally rewarding. Warm regards,


Brain Fitness Pro working-memory training report.

This post was submitted by Shaun Luttin.

Open Question: Training Methods And Transfer To Fluid Intelligence

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

When my infant son woke me at 4:30am this morning, what question crept into my head? Can we figure out the optimal training approach, or optimal training approaches, for generating transfer to fluid intelligence; what do we know, what can we deduce, and how can we measure our theories?

I don’t want to assume just one answer. The answer may differ from person to person or from day-to-day. We’ve discussed some of the differences between taking breaks and training straight through, between canceling a block and not, between meditating between blocks and not, and between training frequently or less frequently. We’ve also discussed how we might consistently measure working-memory and transfer to fluid intelligence.

I thought it might be helpful to state some of the principles at work, as I understand them, and begin an open discussion of this topic. If we develop some theories, we may be able to test them out. (This might ultimately involve an on-line study along the lines that Shaun framed out, but with the added dimension that we could compare different training strategies.)

Or we might simply provide food for thought so that people can try out different approaches and find what works best for them.

The principles:

1. Working-memory gains transfer to fluid intelligence gains. The Jaeggi, Buschkuehl research hypothesized, tested, and demonstrated the validity of this principle; we can use it to help us think through training approaches and measurement strategies. (We might accept that measuring increases in working-memory is as relevant as measuring increases in fluid intelligence…)

2. Progressive training of working-memory increases working-memory focus and span. The dual n-back training method exemplifies this principle, requiring us to use visual and aural working-memory simultaneously.

So, in considering different ways to approach the dual n-back training sessions, we must try to determine, if we can, which of the strategies will most effectively lead to working-memory increases.

3. Maximum short-term working-memory capacity does not necessarily reflect effective working-memory capacity. By this I mean that we can increase our short term performance on the n-back task and on a working-memory span test by meditation, exercise, etc. but that this doesn’t necessarily reflect an increase in our day-to-day or long term working-memory capacity. (I increased my n-back average to 7.0 when I was using block cancellation, breaks, meditation, etc., but when I train straight through without extensive use of these techniques, my n-back score hasn’t been higher than 6.5.)

We must be careful to consider this in any measurement methodology.

4. Neurogenesis and plastic change require focused attention on a task, as well as a sense of satisfaction, pleasure, or achievement from the task. (Through the release of acetylcholine and dopamine respectively.)

These are the core principles as I understand them.

We also have two other findings that we should consider:

5. Sleep consolidates gains. Open question – could some form of meditation or deep relaxation substitute for sleep and might it be used to help boost long term working-memory?

6. Exercise vs. no exercise boosts short-term performance.


So, an effective dual n-back training approach must be rewarding, focused, and demanding.

Some tricky questions:

- Strategies that help boost short-term n-back scores (training after exercise, taking breaks, canceling blocks, etc.) can lead to increased satisfaction by boosting n-back score. But this increase in satisfaction may come at the expense of demanding more of our prolonged focus and attention.

- The straight-through strategy can lead to FLOW and the satisfaction of training more frequently. Does it demand less of us in the work of stretching working-memory span? (Example: Since I’ve been going straight through I’ve been spending more time at n=5 and 6 and less at n=7 and 8.)

Alright, I’ve probably said enough. Others please chime in…


PS. I’m going pin this post to the blog home page so that it’s easy to find.