Posts Tagged ‘working-memory training’

Brain Fitness Training And Learning: Neuroplasticity

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

After my “test prep review” post a couple of days ago I came across a piece in The Journal arguing the case for the use of brain training software to build critical brain structures in struggling learners. The story’s author, Dr. Martha Burns, emphasizes how much we now know about neuroplasticity, learning, and the impact of brain fitness software on cognitive function.

“Neuroscientists like Stanislas Dehaene, for example, provide evidence that specific brain structures in the temporal lobe are required so that learning to read happens easily and effortlessly,” Dr. Burns points out. “Research is helping us understand the reasons why that brain architecture may not be strong enough to support the learning process–for example, a home environment where there is not a great deal of oral language experience may have negative impact on brain architecture.”

But we can rewire the brain with specific brain training interventions. Neuroplasticity, even adult neuroplasticity, is now a well accepted process by which the brain changes in response to new stimulii.

Dr. Burns cites the work of John Gabrieli with dyslexic children. Reviewing new neuroscience approaches to dyslexia in the journal Science in 2009, John Gabrieli of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology noted that after six weeks of targeted brain training, the dyslexic children showed dramatic improvements on standardized reading assessments and increased brain function in previously weak regions of the left hemisphere. The brain function in the weak areas had reached levels associated with non-dyslexic children.

Further, Dehaene’s research report published in the December 2010 issue of Science shows that learning to read changes the brains of children as well as adults. Learning to read stimulates organization of the visual cortex and the brain functions associated with speech. Similarly brain training for children can also lead to improvements in math, social studies, and science.

Dr. Burns closes: “Neuroscience is helping educators understand how the brain learns, what causes learning disabilities, and what we can do about them. Moreover, neuroscience is developing technology-based interventions that can ameliorate the root cause of reading failure and, by enabling nonreaders to read, build brain capacity for other types of learning.” Well said.

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

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.

Working Memory Training Report – Ronnette – Session 18

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Session number: 18

Average n: 2.5

I’m hitting more n-3!!!!

This post was submitted by Ronnette.

Working Memory Training Report – Ronnette – Session 17

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Session number: 17

Average n: 2.4

Shaun, and others inspire me to work harder.

This post was submitted by Ronnette.

Working Memory Training Report – Ronnette – Session 16

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Session number: 16

Average n: 2.3

I think I have been doing each session within 30 minutes or less. Too bad there is no historical time on the software.

This post was submitted by Ronnette.

Working Memory Training Report – Ronnette – Session 14

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Session number: 14

Average n: 2.2

I keep at it.

This post was submitted by Ronnette.

Working Memory Training Report – Ronnette – Session 11

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Session number: 11

Average n: 2.1

I did not do very well, but I see changes with my productivity.

This post was submitted by Ronnette.

Keeping a Cool Head Working-Memory Overload

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Readers may be interested in an earlier study by Susanne Jaeggi and Martin Buschkuehl in which they used brain imaging to study brain activation during the dual n-back task at n=2 and n=3.

On how high performers keep cool brains in situations of cognitive overload.
Jaeggi SM, Buschkuehl M, Etienne A, Ozdoba C, Perrig WJ, and Nirkko AC
Cognitive, affective & behavioral neuroscience 7(2):75 2007 Jun

The results indicate that at the most challenging task (n=3) the brains of the high performers showed more distinct activation patterns and less overall activation than the brains of the low performers.

There’s no definitive overall conclusion, but there’s a lot of interesting discussion and hypothesis.

Reading this study put me in mind of the comments made by Brett, a Brain Fitness Pro customer from New Jersey. Brett described a feeling of overall cool-headedness and self-awareness after he’d completed the first training period.