A brain training exercise that really does work — for 3 months

June 17, 2011 at 8:13 am 1 comment

I find intriguing the various claims about brain “calisthenics” or “exercises” that have learning benefits.  I’m dubious, but curious about the claims.  This one is interesting, not because it showed a positive effect, but because it lasted for “up to three months.”

Three months?  That’s a lot longer than working memory, and long-term memory isn’t supposed to have an expiration date.  Roger Schank has argued that there must be more than two just levels in the memory hierarchy.  (A great example: Why is it that, on a multi-day trip, you can remember your hotel room number or rental car description, but can’t remember it the next week?)  This result seems to be influencing one of those middle levels, but isn’t changing long-term memory permanently.

In an award address on May 28 at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science in Washington, D.C., University of Michigan psychologist John Jonides presented new findings showing that practicing this kind of task for about 20 minutes each day for 20 days significantly improves performance on a standard test of fluid intelligence—the ability to reason and solve new problems, which is a crucial element of general intelligence. And this improvement lasted for up to three months.

via A brain training exercise that really does work.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Alan Kay  |  June 17, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Well known in music learning … I don’t know enough about sports learning to see if this is also the case there (a guess would say yes).




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