Free Brain-Training Game Claims To Improve Your Memory
I'm quite a fan of those brain-training games that you often see advertised in magazines and on the TV. If you are too, here's one for your PC which is free to download and use. It's called N-Back, and you can get it from http://brainworkshop.sourceforge.net . It runs on all recent versions of Windows, and the download is 10 MB.
The object of the game is simple, but playing it isn't so easy! Each game lasts around a minute. During this time, every 3 seconds or so, a blue square flashes up on the board for a short time (see illustration below) and, though your PC speakers, you'll hear a nice lady read out a random letter of the alphabet from A to Z.
All you have to do is as follows. If the position of the blue square is the same as it was last time, ie a few seconds ago, press the "A" key to indicate a position match. Alternatively, if the letter dictated by the nice lady is the same as last time, that signifies an audio match so press the "L" key instead. That's all there is to it.
The game is called N-Back because the key to playing it is to remember what happened in the past, ie 1, 2 or 3 events back. When you first start the game, N is set to 2, meaning that you actually need to remember what happened 2 events ago. If you're new to the game, you'll find this impossible, so start by changing N to 1. The web site contains full instructions on how to do this.
Apparently, minds cleverer than mine reckon that you can improve your short-term memory by playing this game for around 20 minutes, 4 or 5 times a week. A pretty good result for a free app, so long as you remember to keep playing!
My thanks to Keith Harvey for alerting me to this fascinating Hot Find.
Ok, here's what makes the game hard... I haven't even tried it and probably wont since it is a Windows only App and I run Linux. But, I can see by just reading the description on how to play the game. That it would work against my common sense and training from 20 years of working with computers. Heck this works against my 48 years of being able to read and write!:O Here it is... in the description... " If the position of the blue square is the same as it was last time, ie a few seconds ago, press the "A" key to indicate a position match. Alternatively, if the letter dictated by the nice lady is the same as last time, that signifies an audio match so press the "L" key instead. That's all there is to it." Now why in the world would they choose the A key for Position and not P??? And L for Audio?... What were they thinking??? A is for Audio and P is for Position... The only way to set this game up, that makes sense to an English Peaking Oh! I mean Speaking;) and Writing Person. See... it already has me messed up. That was an actual subliminal mistake and not on purpose. I wonder if the Game developers are not English Speakers - Writers? Or... maybe they're just Computer Programmers;)