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PASAT with dynamic speed adjustment added
cognitivefun | 13 years ago Reply Link me
PASAT with dynamic speed adjustment added
This is the first of several coming additions of speed test variants of the existing tests. "Speed test" is somewhat of a misnomer here, because dynamically adjusting its difficulty ends up not only measuring how fast one can perform the task, but also intentionally makes the task incrementally harder until it is impossible, with the goal of inducing pressure and hopefully accelerating skill acquisition. In other words, this test is less of a measurement of aptitude, but more of a training program.

These kinds of tasks are far from new: the classic Tetris uses a similar mechanism, where the blocks fall faster as the player levels up. Some math games have adapted this strategy, where users need to perform some task before the number falls to the bottom of the screen. While this design makes them appear more "game-like" and perhaps actually increases the entertainment value, positioning the falling blocks in Tetris is a spatial task, whereas number manipulation is more of an executive task (or memory task, if you limit the range of operations). It seems sensible to just isolate the relevant task required and focus on it, so in the PASAT speed run, the fading box is used to minimize eye movement, and minimize number of visual stimuli.

Speaking of math games being a memory task, why is this so? When one becomes sufficiently familiar with manipulating small numbers, it is likely that they are no longer adding numbers on the spot, and have begun retrieving the answers from long term memory. If they memorized the 9x9 (or 12x12 or even 20x20) multiplication table, the act of multiplying small numbers is actually an act of recalling; it's almost like asking "what is Mr. 6x3's phone number?"

This is also why if you play a game of quick calculations of small numbers, that later tells you your mental age, it actually has little to do with your mental age! Your score on such a game simply reflects how well you remembered the "phone numbers" of these number pairs.
cognitivefun | 13 years ago Reply
You are absolutely correct with the numerical recall situation; brain scans have validated that different regions are activated in more numerically mature individuals, such that they are not going thru the process of calculation, but rather are retrieving information in long-term memory. It would be interesting to find a way to improve calculation ability without resorting to memory. Hmmmm....
? | 13 years ago Reply
This is amazing! Can't afford to lose focus for even a fraction of a second..

Maybe you should increase the time alloted for 2 digit answers by some small amount. But what the heck i guess it'll just make my fingers more nimble..

I was thinking of a visual pasat.. would that be pvsat? The time taken to speak out a number gives some time for the brain to recoup.

Again, i think this would be training attention and processing speed (and typing speed) more than calculation or memory. atleast for the lower stages.

Something with bigger numbers and other arithmetic operations? It'd be training working memory and attention atleast until you get good at it.
sygenator | 13 years ago Reply
I like this a lot, including the fact that once you have reached a particular speed, the game keeps going at the same rate.

I have two minor quibbles: firstly, could the speed slacken ever so slightly for two digit answers, so that the display of mental quickness is not compromised too much by the need to type in an extra number?

Secondly, could upgrading be tied to the combined score rather than accuracy, as, as it is, increased speed hinders rather than helps one upgrade.

I continue to enjoy the site, remain your obedient servant etc etc
cevapcici | 13 years ago Reply
Actually, scratch the first cavil: I'm just a poor typist.

PS Damn you Sygenator!
cevapcici | 13 years ago Reply
Sygenator: I'm actually thinking on writing a C#-based pvsat-n test! Complete with customized & automated timing (per delay between values, answer time, and the time the value is shown). I'm contemplating the layout, design, architecture, automated controls and custom controls. When I have that in mind, I'll write the code.

I'll probably write it this weekend.
Enigma415 | 12 years ago Reply
Cool. Have you done it?

I also had an idea about having 2 parallel pasats running at the same time. Can have different voices speaking them out or different colours to code the 2 different streams of numbers appearing randomly. I somehow think this would have more transfer than the single series.. I should start learning my languages..
sygenator | 12 years ago Reply
brian | 11 years ago Reply

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