Online games offer trove of brain data
21 June 2013
Study of 35 million users of brain-training software finds alcohol and sleep linked to cognitive performance.
online ‘brain-training’ tools
The study, published this week in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, analysed user data from Lumosity, a collection of web-based games made by Lumos Labs, based in San Francisco, California.
The optimal sleep time was seven hours, with performance worsening for every hour of sleep lost or added.
‘crystallized knowledge’ (such as vocabulary)
‘fluid intelligence’ (such as the ability to memorize new sets of information)
the sample in this study is also biased: the users of brain-training tools are younger (compared to the typical dementia patients), most of them live in the United States or Europe and, most importantly, they are likely to already be interested in cognitive-training tasks.
factors that influence cognition
Most adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep every night, says Harvard Medical School’s Charles Czeisler, who is chairman of the board of the National Sleep Foundation.
Any less than that (if it happens regularly) is a “sleep deficiency,”
more on fluid thinking:
This is flexible, fluid thinking — children exploring an unlikely hypothesis.
Exploratory learning comes naturally to young children, says Gopnik.
Adults, on the other hand, jump on the first, most obvious solution and doggedly stick to it, even if it’s not working.
That’s inflexible, narrow thinking. “We think the moral of the study is that maybe children are better at solving problems when the solution is an unexpected one,” says Gopnik.
And that flexibility may disappear earlier than we think.
Gopnik’s lab has also compared toddlers and kindergartners
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