Thursday, May 2, 2013

Summary of Findings (White Team): Brain Training (2.5 out of 5 Stars)

Note: This post represents the synthesis of the thoughts, procedures and experiences of others as represented in the 8 articles read in advance (see previous posts) and the discussion among the students and instructor during the Advanced Analytic Techniques class at Mercyhurst University in May 2013 regarding Brain Training specifically. This technique was evaluated based on its overall validity, simplicity, flexibility and its ability to effectively use unstructured data.

Brain training is an analytic modifier that is used to improve cognitive functions through the repetition of computerized tests. It is intended to improve an individual's cognitive functions throughout their daily activities. The literature conducted so far on brain training is inconclusive in demonstrating that brain training improves cognitive functioning abilities.

1. Ability to improve cognitive functioning.
2. Improves your performance with practice within the specific activity.
3. The games used in brain training are widely accessible and relatively inexpensive.
4. Has the ability to test different areas of cognitive functioning.

1. Difficult to measure its effects.
2. Have to conduct brain training on a daily basis for a long period of time in order for it to demonstrate effectiveness.
3. Brain training utilizes games to conduct tests so it is difficult to create a game that appeals to every participant's interests.
4. Difficult to implement in a work setting based on the level of interest and effort that will be applied to brain training activities.

Step by Step Action:
Choose a brain training exercise.
Conduct the exercise multiple times, over a period of time.
Participate in the brain training exercise on a regular basis during a specific time of the day.
Determine whether your score improves overtime.
Determine whether this exercise is transferable to other relevant activities.
Measure the improvements by comparing the accuracy of estimates before and after the exercises.

The class was direct to go to and to the specific game called “Uber Brain.” “Uber Brain” consisted of five games that were a total of one minute in length and repeated consecutively. Each game measured a different aspect of cognitive functioning. At the end of the activity results were recorded and each participant was given an area that they scored the highest in and an area that they needed to improve. The game was completed a second time to see if scores improved.

As a class it was interesting to see how some participants scores improved significantly and how some participants’ scores only improved minorly. Questions that were brought up at the end of the activity focused on if the improvement in scores was a result of improving cognitive functioning ability or if the improvement was a result of becoming more familiarized with the gameplay of “Uber Brain”. It was also discussed if conducting the game at a certain time of the day would improve scores among the participants.

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