30 May 2011

Online Puzzles and Brain Boosters: Saving Your Brain

Norman Doidge: Neuro-plasticians show that the brain is plastic not only in early childhood but from cradle-to-grave. This means we have to revisit the whole notion of adult development as a very, very serious undertaking. The adult brain can be maintained, developed and improved in many areas. But not by taking the occasional course after the age of 45.

VB: That message is going to become increasingly important with an aging population.

Norman Doidge: Yes, the longer we live the more relevant it becomes. And it is relevant not just for developing and improving but also for preserving. The secret to old age is a very simple one from the medical point of view. What you want is to have all your organ systems last as long as they can and then cease to function all at once!

VB: Exactly.

Norman Doidge: We’re in a situation now where, because of extended lifespan, a very high proportion of people—close to half—will find that their brains crap out before their hearts, livers and kidneys. So extending mental life span to equal that of other organs is a kind of imperative, otherwise we’ll have aged humans that are like infants who can’t function and care for themselves. _IdeaConnection

We make choices from moment to moment, unconsciously, as to how we will train our brains. Children and young adults need mentors and guides to help them make best use of early life mental plasticity. But the brains of adults and seniors are still plastic to a significant degree. Grownups have to be their own mentors and guides, more times than not, in the continuing task of brain development and preservation. Fortunately, there is a wide range of tools available online to assist in this task. Here is a report on one of these tools, n-back mental training exercises:
In an award address on May 28 at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science in Washington, D.C., University of Michigan psychologist John Jonides presented new findings showing that practicing this kind of task for about 20 minutes each day for 20 days significantly improves performance on a standard test of fluid intelligence—the ability to reason and solve new problems, which is a crucial element of general intelligence. And this improvement lasted for up to three months.

Jonides, who is the Daniel J. Weintraub Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, collaborated with colleagues at U-M, the University of Bern and the University of Tapei on a series of studies with more than 200 young adults and children, demonstrating the effects of various kinds of n-back mental training exercises. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation and by the Office of Naval Research.

According to Jonides, the n-back task taps into a crucial brain function known as working memory—the ability to maintain information in an active, easily retrieved state, especially under conditions of distraction or interference. Working memory goes beyond mere storage to include processing information _MedXPress
Online brain games from Online Brain Games Blog:
Memory Games:
Dual N-Back — Documented I.Q. booster!
Cogolog — Memory game site with 14 different memory games
Board Games:
Go (Go Rules and tips) — 3000yr old board game!
Words:
Crosswords(Crosswords Rules and tips)
Numbers:
Online Math Games – Highlight post with many links
Other:
Click The Color – Based on the Stroop Effect
Connect4 — (Connect4 Rules and tips)
Phit
Tetris
Other Websites with Free Brain Games
brainbashers.com
braingle.com
brainwaves.com
fitbrains.com
freebrainagegames.com
funbrain.com – elementary school
fun4thebrain - elementary school
gamesforthebrain
interjeux.net
mathplayground – elementary/middle school
matica.com
neuroscience for kids - elementary/high school
nursingdegree.net
online-college-blog
playwithyourmind.com
proprofs
samgine.com – online flash game puzzles

100 Online Puzzles, Brain Games, and Brain Tests from Nursingdegree.net (excerpt):

  1. Sharp Brains: This site is "the brain fitness authority," and you’ll find all kinds of tricky brain teasers.
  2. Smart Kit: This "brain gym and puzzle playground" has picture puzzles, Flash puzzle games, brain games, cryptograms, logic puzzles and more.

Evaluation Tools and Articles
Test your brain fitness with these tricks and games.
  1. Brain Teasers and IQ Tests: Visit this site to take all kinds of tests and quizzes and to solve brain teasers.
  2. Test Your Brain: Test your brain on its processing speed, ability to process information in a noisy room and more.
  3. Lumosity: The initial trial for Lumosity’s brain fitness program is free.
  4. IQ and intelligence tests: Take these IQ tests, subliminal messages test, organizational web design tests, memory tests and more to see how well your brain is functioning.
  5. 50 Fun Ways to Maximize Your Brain Fitness: This website has lots of great ways to keep your brain in shape, from drinking pomegranate juice to changing up your regular route.
  6. Steps to Brain Fitness: The Alliance for Aging Research lists 10 different ways to have a well-exercised brain.
  7. Train the Brain: Take reflex tests, play with a Rubik’s cube and more on this site.
  8. Mensa Fun Test: Find out if you’re one of the smartest people in the world when you take this test.
  9. Surveys and Psychology Tests: Tests offered on this BBC website include an art and personality test, memory and more.
  10. Test Cafe: Take all kinds of quizzes to test your brain, IQ, personality type and more.

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2 Comments:

Blogger TheBigHenry said...

Duplicate bridge is a great way of exercising your brain at any age.

Monday, 30 May, 2011  
Blogger PRCalDude said...

Al,

What's the best bang for the buck as far as mind games are concerned?

Mindfulness meditation as explained by Jon Kabat-Zinn is very helpful for concentration also.

Thursday, 02 June, 2011  

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