All entries for Friday 07 July 2006

July 07, 2006

Training my brain

Follow-up to Brain training from Autology: John Dale's blog

Earlier this year I was interested to see that in Japan there are Nintendo DS games whose aim is to improve mental agility. Now that one of these games has been released in this country my interest has turned to annoyance with the discovery that the wretched game thinks that my brain age is 64.

Interestingly, the tool the game uses to measure your brain age is the Stroop effect (though it doesn't call it that): the game prints a series of words where the word is the name of a colour, but is printed in a colour which may or may not be the same as the named colour. You have to say the colour the word is printed in, not the colour it names. And I do mean 'say': the game does speech recognition, and for the limited case of naming colours, seems to do it perfectly.

Since the optimal age is 20, this suggests that I have some way to go before my brain has been exercised sufficiently, or that the cartridge has some way to go out of the window if it doesn't shape up and start giving me a more plausible rating within the next week.

On the up side, the games are immensely fun to do, so if I'm (mentally) working out and having a good time too then what's not to love?


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