Brain training games can boost IQ

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Post:Brain training games can boost IQ / April 30th, 2008


Brain training games can boost IQ


A Swiss-American team reports in a leading scientific journal how they used a computer based brain-training method to improve general problem-solving ability.

Many psychologists had thought the only way to improve this was actually by practising the specific problem solving task you wanted to get better at. However, this theory is overturned in the work by Drs Susanne Jaeggi, Martin Buschkühl and colleagues at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and University of Bern.

They say you can improve generally problem solving ability by carrying out unrelated mental exercises and puzzles.

In the experiment, the team gave 35 volunteers a series of mental training exercises designed to improve their working memory, while they also had 35 more subjects who did not undergo the “brain boot camp”.

Those who underwent the mental exercise tests, were shown a sequence of squares appearing one after another on the computer screen every three seconds. The task was to decide whether a certain square was at the same position as another one previously seen in the sequence.

At the same time, participants heard spoken letters and had to decide whether the currently heard letter was the same as one presented two or three steps earlier in the sequence.

If they did well the task became harder, while if they did badly it became easier. They repeated the exercises for between eight and 19 days.


Their problem solving ability was then assessed compared to the group who had not taken part in the exercises.

According to the results of the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group who took part in the puzzles had a significantly improved problem solving ability. Moreover, the more the participants trained, the more problems they could solve.

Motivation however, was also important too - suggesting people have to be committed to mental exercise to reap the benefits.

Dr Jaeggi said: “It’s the same in sports: you can not expect to get better in football if you merely run around a little bit and not really want to improve.”

This is the first evidence that mental exercise improves intelligence and problem solving ability generally and suggests time spent on crosswords, Sudoko and other number and word games is time well spent.

Scrabble obsessive? ... well check these out


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West Virginia Scrabble
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Blog Summary: This is a group blog about Scrabble in West Virginia. The Scrabble club (National Scrabble Association Club #620) is based in Charleston. We meet on a regular basis and play lots of Scrabble!! For some of us it is becoming (or already is) a deep-rooted obsession. Our skill levels range from "I play pretty often" to some of the highest-rated players in the state. We are an informal group and we all enjoy a good game. We welcome anyone who would like to play.
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Post: Scrabble obsessive? ... well check these out / April 30, 2008


Scrabble obsessive? ... well check these out

Are you ever accused of being obsessed with Scrabble or anything else? If so then you should direct them to a new documentary called The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters that details a level of obsession that is mind boggling.

I have posted a review of this film on my blog along with my usual savvy commentary and wit (click here for it). If classic arcade games aren't your style though you should check out the bevy of word-related documentaries that are out there (that also deal with obsessive people actually). I've recently re-watched Word Wars (Scrabble) and Spellbound (spelling bees) and then I've also recently discovered Scrabylon (Scrabble) and Wordplay (crossword puzzles).

All of these are excellent films that are available through Netflix. Also in the category of documentary films about words and language is The Aristocrats ... but that's not for everyone ... watch The Matrix too ... it rocks!

I’m Not A -Scrabble- Virgin Anymore



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nooneofimport
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Blog Summary: My name is Erica. I live in Portland, Oregon at present-which is a beautiful city. I’m absolutely in love with it. I’m a full-time Teacher’s Slave Aide at a snooty private school and a part-time college student. I’m looking to get a degree in Doing Nothing. I’m very much looking forward to the day when I won’t have to work or pay bills any longer, just sit there… Doing Nothing.

I have three house plants; Galveston, Gracie, and Milton. I have a silver Corolla named Stella and an imaginary brain tumor named Jack. They are my friends.
This blog has been active since: January 2008
Post: I’m Not A -Scrabble- Virgin Anymore / April 2, 2008


I’m Not A -Scrabble- Virgin Anymore


I can just hear Poe in the background…

I played Scrabble for the first time today! Isn’t that just horribly exciting? I think so! It’s not the points that matter to me, it’s the excitement of the words. I turned one of the other player’s words into PANTS, and then on my next turn I put down YETI. Pretty awesome. I had to leave before I found out the scores, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t lose.

I don’t know why I had never played Scrabble before. My family was more of a Monopoly family, or a Skip-bo family. Now that was a good game. Skip-bo. It’s been so long. I don’t even remember how to play anymore.

Today I’m finally feeling better. Oh, I’m still hacking phlegm, but the space of time in between each hack is getting longer and longer. And most importantly, I can BREATHE through my nose! That for me is the most frustrating thing about being sick, not being about to breathe through the nostrils. Oh, and now I can eat without desperately wanting to vomit, that’s always a plus.

And on top of everything else, today was a magnificently beautiful spring day! Take that, you stupid winter! Ha! No more snow! The sun was shining, there was a light breeze but it was still warm. I saw a bee for the first time this season. That made me happy. Life was surprisingly beautiful today.

I got to come home to a crisp, fresh copy of Bon Appétit which I’m very much looking forward to ripping into. Last month they had a stupid picture of cupcakes on the cover, which really disappointed me. The cover is one of the most important things about a cooking magazine. If the cover itself instantly makes you start to salivate, you just instinctively know it’s going to be a good issue. Last month, sure there were a couple good recipes in there, but on the whole it wasn’t too great.

Of Surprise Parties and Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches



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Slapdash Jargon
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Post: Of Surprise Parties and Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches / April 2, 2008


Of Surprise Parties and Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches



This fantastic day of April the second was in fact a marvelous day. Today’s holidays were Children’s Book Day and National Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich day, and the chosen word of the day was lackluster, which means ‘dull.’

Normally, I would be going on about how boring Wednesdays such as today are, but today was most definitely not boring.

You all remember the after school Scrabble party planned for my friend Laura’s house, right? Well, I fooled not only her but all of you guys as well- the get-together was actually a belated birthday surprise party! I baked her a pacman monster cookie with ‘nerdfighter= you’ on the top in orange icing. She was immensely shocked and pleased about the surprise party, and I was as well, though I really can’t believe she didn’t notice that something was up- especially when I called the group of friends waiting at her house to pop out and yell, ‘surprise!’ in the midst of her presence, claiming I was calling my own phone to see if it was in my backpack; really, would I be talking to myself like that?

Either way, it was a roaring success. We are actually now in the process (or at least, I am) of planning a club where we all meet after school on Wednesdays and walk around the neighborhoods doing odd things, such as using umbrellas when it is not raining, and recording people’s reactions. We will then hopefully end up posting them on YouTube. Awesome idea, right? You know it!

So yes, I am very happy and am currently feeling very fulfilled in life, even if the party is over and I still have to take out the trash, making the rest of today quickly turn into the average, boring Wednesday evening.

Make your mark!

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