27

General thoughts on brain training: Lumosity is a commercial tool that aims to improve brain functioning. In general, I am sceptical of the potential for "brain training programs" to improve cognitive functioning in a generalised way (e.g., see this Nature discussion). Practice is powerful, but tends to be domain specific. So if you want to become skilled ...


12

Literal IQ: In a literal sense, IQ is a standardised score derived from intelligence tests. Typically IQ is scaled to have a a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15. In that sense, it is a normative score. For children, the norm is defined relative to other children of a similar age, for adults, it is defined relative to an adult population. IQ as g: ...


11

It's been known that Increased Corpus Callosum size was found in musicians who began music training before age 7 and that Training working memory leads to growth in Corpus Callosum. As for how to train working memory, that's a diverse subject. There have been a lot of experiments involving Training working memory for ADHD patients, however a meta-analysis ...


9

I assume that the group that spends 100% of their time studying real analysis and 0% of their time doing n-back training will do best in any subsequent real analysis course. Cognitive skill acquisition does not generalise all that much (for a review see VanLehn, 1996). Transfer is often limited. I'm sceptical of any claims that short term training can lead ...


9

I believe the hype about brain training got started with Susanne Jaeggi's paper on n-back training and its alleged improvements to fluid intelligence (Gf) and working memory (WM): The experimental design was called into question by papers that followed and tried to replicate similar results. Most of them could not detect a maintained improvement in WM and ...


9

In general, I'd hypothesise that "memory-training" programs will not lead to domain-general increases in fluid intelligence nor working memory. As general background, you might want to check out the literature on expert memory. Practice is very effective at improving performance on the practised task. Transfer is real and does exist, but it is often small ...


9

Persons of each handedness use both hemispheres of the brain. If you're asking specifically whether taking an action with your right hand preferentially activates motor control in the left hemisphere, the answer is yes. Motor function for the right side of your body is mapped to the left side of your brain, and vice versa. So for crossing your right leg ...


8

Not using your brain might well be deleterious, but it's impossible not to use your brain unless you're in a coma or something. There are some cool studies on plasticity (see Shayna's answer above) in amputees, where the parts of the brain that control the amputated limb go unused but are taken up by other functions instead. However, "perpetual brain ...


8

Yes, brain power is eroded via a lack of practice. This occurs through the processes called synaptic pruning and brain plasticity. I will leave you with a very basic answer as I am unsure of your level of understanding of cognitive processes. First, you must understand neurons. Then, you can begin to understand synaptic pruning and brain plasticity. Finally,...


8

Because it has been a few years since Jeromy's original answer, and because I just read a very apt article, I will venture an update on the state of the field with respect to the BPI's validity. Overall, despite more research into brain training and Lumosity, there is little to no peer-reviewed evidence supporting the Lumosity BPI's validity, nor evidence ...


7

Chunking leverages long-term memory for the chunks, i.e. we recognize and remember much easier the familiar chunks, sometimes algorithmically. This is much easier explained in the domain of letters/words, e.g. we'd recognize USA as substring among random letters. Similarly most would recognize the pattern 1945 (WWII end) by paired association, or 12321 ...


6

There cannot be a single answer to this question which would be entirely correct. Different theoretical approaches to psychology will yield different explanations. This is evident from the other answers in this question (some which you provided) which all stem from different theoretical accounts: Evolutionary Psychology: Species evolving around water ...


6

The paper claims that training on updating (based on the influential view of executive function proposed by Miyake et al., 2000) tasks, which require maintaining and manipulating information in WM in response to new input or feedback, transfers to other memory tasks such as letter-memory and n-back, and that this transfer is associated with changes in phasic ...


6

I think in most scientific contexts, "brain training" refers to working memory training. Scott Barry Kaufman wrote a nice article entitled In Defense of Working Memory Training. Hulme and Melby-Lervag wrote a meta-analysis about working memory training. They note that these exercises would not generalize to other mental skills such as reading comprehension, ...


6

What is the effect of completing "brain training"? Is there any evidence for domain general benefits to cognitive functioning that extend beyond the specific task practiced? Brain training at the very least improves skill levels in the domain being trained. That is now well established. The big challenge is of course to create forms of training whose ...


5

Short answer A cap of magnets, or state-of-the-art TMS protocols, will not make you smarter. Background First off, TMS uses bursts of magnetic stimulation in the order of milliseconds (Rothkegel et al., 2010). Pulses of magnetic stimulation are used, because permanent magnetic fields will not induce current flow. Hence, wearing a cap of permanent magnets ...


4

It may have something to do with the manner in which the water flows. Disturbed or moving water has a frequency content/distribution that approaches noise (think ocean waves lapping up against the the shoreline/beach, which is close to white noise). Our hearing system tends to tune out when presented with white noise, mainly due to there being no ...


4

Yes, there are several studies which found links between the amount of training and the effect of it on cognitive abilities. See the below for references and summaries of some of these: Jaeggi, Susanne M., et al. "Improving fluid intelligence with training on working memory." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105.19 (2008): 6829-6833. Jaeggi ...


4

I'm not sure about the trained part, but there have been cases where people have spontaneously shifted into a very enjoyable state of mind for a very long time, for example: Eckhart Tolle, who supposedly spent 2 years in utter bliss.


4

This is a big question, but here are a few thoughts. While we could argue about the details, concepts around set points and the hedonic treadmill have reasonable empirical support. The general finding is that life satisfaction ratings are fairly stable from year to year (Lucas & Donnellan, 2007) which suggests that there are relatively stable individual ...


4

Unfortunately this question is based on a false premise. Thanks for asking. The oversimplified view on brain lateralisation is so stubbornly persistant and it invaded so many meditation guides, self help blogs, pseudoscientific faith healing and even job interviewer criteria, that it is now a part of "viral" phenomenon. Yes, brain lateralisation exists. ...


3

I would say it is impossible. Being unhappy is a necessary experience to make the feeling of happiness arise. Maybe there is some joyful state that can persist over time without unhappiness but I doubt it. As I see it, unhappiness at times comes with the deal of living.


3

You could try meditation. Meditation practices have been shown to have an effect size similar or higher to antidepressants. "During the course of 2to 6 months, the mindfulness meditation program ES estimates ranged from 0.22 to 0.38 for anxiety symptoms and 0.23 to 0.30 for depressive symptoms. These small effects are comparable with what would be expected ...


3

Top-down knowledge is knowing what a target is. When detecting an object, the rate at which you can detect it (measured via reaction time, or 'RT') is partially dependent on how fast you can identify it based on its sensory features. Bottom-up knowledge is integrating recognition of the features, or the dimensions of an object, such as its color, ...


3

Memory is a complex phenomenon with a number of variables for which we don't have yet the whole picture, let alone specific recommendations, a lot of research is also disputed since we tend to be different from human to human, perhaps that is why it hasn't been used in academia,i.e. we don't teach how to learn. Having said that here's a brief overview of ...


3

BCI has rougly two different approaches to extract features. I will address them both. When EEG is recorded, you can see an pattern of activity in a particular channel over time. This is the time-domain. The time domain is predominantly used to analyze Event Related Potentials. One application within BCI is the P300 speller. A matrix of letters is shown ...


3

The "overheat" (flushing of the skin) you experience is a common-enough reaction to stress, part of the fight-or-flight response. It's not uncommon for people to experince it during exams; generally exam/test axniety is related to both internal and external factors (or perception thereof) Self-esteem was a significant and strong predictor of test anxiety. ...


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