03 March 2009

The Ultimate Multi-Function Survival Tool

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The human brain is the ultimate tool for survival in a changing environment. Since the brain is constantly evolving in response to experience, it is never exactly the same as before. This means that we can shape our experiences to improve desired brain functions.

Specialists in brain function such as Michael Merzenich, in the Google Talk video above, have developed sophisticated software training tools to develop a medley of brain functions necessary for high level thinking and learning. Dr. Merzenich claims that the current incarnation of his software tools can subtract roughly 11 years of age-related mental decline from the average middle-aged or elderly brain. For anyone past the age of 50, an 11 year improvement is quite significant.

The expense of Merzenich's Posit Science software limits the application to research, institutional use, and moderately affluent users. But competing companies are entering the brain training arena, and making strong claims for the efficacy of their own products, compared to the Posit Science regimen.
The Posit Science and Mind Sparke programs both employ training protocols that can help mitigate and reverse the mental declines associated with aging. The programs differ in four broad respects:

1. Relative Training Time Required – Posit Science requires 65 to 80 hours of training over a 3 month period. Mind Sparke’s integrated exercise trains several functions simultaneously and requires just 20 hours over a three month period.
2. Training Targets – Mind Sparke’s training program targets two brain functions that the Posit Science programs do not -- multi-tasking skills and simultaneous left-brain / right-brain processing.
3. Training of Natural Listening Skills – The Mind Sparke program does not train natural ('real life') listening comprehension. (This can be supplemented by mindfully engaging in everyday tasks and activities that require prolonged attention and focus.)
4. Relative Cost – The Posit Science program bundle costs a total of $690. Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro costs less than $60.

....Posit Science and Mind Sparke customers report similar subjective benefits from their training – improved focus and concentration, improved memory, and improved visual processing. Mind Sparke’s customers (a broader customer base in terms of age range) have also reported improved mathematical ability, a boost in puzzle-solving ability and improved hand-eye coordination and musical proficiency. _MindSparke
Links to 10 top websites for brain training games and information

Brain-Mind web resource -- provides background for understanding how the brain works

As does McGill's "Brain Top to Bottom"


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Blogger Snake Oil Baron said...

Threre are massive improvements which could be made in educational programs when the cost and complexity of content creation comes down. We know now that reinforcing information through decreacing repetetition greatly aids the learning process but many teachers in both public and private programs subscribe to some sort of morality model of education - if it was mentioned once in lecture it was your duty to recognize the material's importance, take detailed notes and memorize the fact at home. I have seen professors who are quiet proud of having a high failure rate because it proves to them that they are not "soft peddling" the material. Educators need to look beyond the textbook publishers for advancements in educational content and look to companies and even open source efforts which specialize incomputerized content creation.

Tuesday, 03 March, 2009  
Blogger al fin said...

Yes, there is a lot of room for improvement, Baron.

Several generations have been broken by a dysfunctional system of education. The rot starts at the university schools of education and spreads out from there.

Wednesday, 04 March, 2009  
Blogger Martin Walker said...

Hello Al, Baron.

I'm the creator of the Mind Sparke program and it's great to see the comparison with Posit Science quoted from here.

I see no reason why effective brain training software shouldn't be available at an affordable price.

I'm very taken with your blog's mission statement, Al. A succinct and pertinent goal.

Happy to answer any questions on this or related subjects,
Martin Walker

Friday, 06 March, 2009  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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