cognitive fun!

Learn your mind. Play it too.
n-back does NOT improve IQ....
Eggs | 9 years ago Reply Link me
what about the fact that we differ gentically and thus biochemically? This implies variations in brain development. This so called "brain training" may in fact work for some, while it is less effective for others.
? | 5 years ago Reply
Reports of IQ tests have been mixed as a result of dual n back. Some results have been stunning, others have shown nothing. To know more,go to . Hope that clears things up.
? | 8 years ago Reply
You say that using the N- back dual test does NOT improve intelligence. What is your own background to support this?
Yunis | 9 years ago Reply
Adulation of authority. What a pathetic excuse for a supposedly rational human being.
? | 9 years ago Reply
You say that the N- back dual test does not work in increasing the intelligence of an individual. What is your profession if I may ask? How did you confirm you I.Q. scores?
Yunis | 9 years ago Reply
And that has what to do with anything?
? | 9 years ago Reply
Also I searched for Susanne Jaeggi in google and I see that she is leaving the university of Michigan for the university of Maryland. Probably to continue research with the wanted ads for lab assistants. But it looks like a while before new studies to come out until she gets settled at her new institution.
Eggs | 9 years ago Reply
Why are you even assuming she's going to continue her "studies", which are more like attempts at self-validation that don't approximate the needed validity for the claims they contain?
? | 9 years ago Reply
Because it the wanted ad for a lab position under her at the university of Maryland, it said she would be again using brain training. She has a phd in cognitive science/neuroscience. A few phds actually.

I really don't know what to make of this. Maybe in a few years there might be some other way to make people smarter but not now.
Eggs | 9 years ago Reply
No you're right, not everyone dies of lung cancer. The person that did NOT get cancer and die might have other smoking induced health issues though. Some just lose their vocal chords and need some box or tube to speak..Haven't you seen the commercials?(there is a whole set of anti-smoke ads which say exactly what you have-smoking doesn't ALWAYS kill but either way a lot of smoking will destroy your health)

It's good to be sceptical of research. Is it not? I am just reporting my findings to other people. What am I to do? I have not gained any IQ points despite training for quite some time. Is it not then reasonable to conclude that dnb is not effective??? If its not working its not working...
Eggs | 9 years ago Reply
That's a good point. I once believed that smoking caused cancer, but then I heard about this guy who smoked for 50 years only to die from something else--conclusively proving that smoking doesn't cause cancer. Your n-back experience has opened my eyes in the same way: the experience of one person always disproves what research has shown. Thanks for reminding us of that.
tsunnergren | 9 years ago Reply
Wow. That is the falsest analogy I've ever seen made about DNB.
? | 9 years ago Reply
Too bad there's not a brain-exercise that trains the ability to recognize sarcasm.
tsunnergren | 9 years ago Reply
Sarcasm: the first resort of the dull-witted.
? | 9 years ago Reply
There seems to be one at
? | 9 years ago Reply
? | 9 years ago Reply
n-back does NOT improve IQ....
Okay, lets all calm down now. You know it is snake oil. Thousands of people clamor to get phds in psychology each year and only a handful of jobs are out there. I have used dual, single and combination n back regularly for almost 2 years and no positive results come from it. I have the exact same IQ as I have according to denmark IQ test. Not even a couple of points higher. I spoke with an actual psychologist and he said to me that a similar method to improve people's intelligence was tried but did nothing to boost IQ. A person would have to remember a stack ofcards amd recall how many times back he saw a certain card. We all remember the bop-it game right? Has that turned anyone into Einstein.

Sorry everyone. But I believe that dual n-back is probably totally worthless. I have tried myself for months and months with no results. ALl other studies with different techniques/training games have not shown any transfer.

And even brain games like the ones from Nintendo also have "experts" on their side to say that their product improves IQ. So no, sorry. It's just not effective.
Eggs | 9 years ago Reply
IQ is designed to measure general intelligence. The n-back studies make no claims about improving general intelligence, of which fluid intelligence is a much smaller part.

If you were interested in testing the actual hypothesis of the n-back studies, you'd have to use tests that specifically measure fluid intelligence, not general intelligence. They are vastly different things.

Even the distinction between fluid and crystallized intelligence was carefully delineated early in the 2008 paper. Your claims about this research are easily debunked by actually reading thee studies which are freely available online.

Why would you distort the evidence so blatantly when it's quite easy for anyone to check?
NetBrain | 9 years ago Reply
You seem to be semi-literate on the subject. The claimed gain(s) sometimes reported in studies on n-back is the improvement to Gf, or fluid ability, which is often so highly correlated with G (general intelligence) that they might be viewed as being equivalent.

It is not incorrect to infer that if one improves Gf, one should see improvements generally, which is makes the findings (if they hold water) all the more alarming.

Instead it seems to be you who distorts the evidence through a half-assed grasp of the theory behind the facts.
? | 9 years ago Reply
High correlation between two things leads you to make the ridiculous leap that, "they might be viewed as being equivalent"?

That's really funny. So, drinking out of a water fountain at the gym is the equivalent of working out?
NetBrain | 9 years ago Reply
You obviously don't know enough psychometrics to know that this is generally the case in practice, i.e., Gf = G.

Get out more and put the torrents of bluster behind you.
? | 9 years ago Reply
"Overall, the available evidence suggests that fluid
cognition is an aspect of cognitive functioning that
can be under considerable environmental influence
both cumulatively over time and interactively within
context in a way that indicates it to be a highly
salient influence on behavior, but one that is distinct
from general intelligence, psychometrically defined."

- Clancy Blair, "How similar are fluid cognition and
general intelligence? A developmental neuroscience
perspective on fluid cognition as an aspect of human cognitive ability" BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES (2006)
NetBrain | 9 years ago Reply
Yes, you again seem to fail to grasp the relevance of the article. Children's Gf (or G) is still very much undergoing development. It is a well-known fact (among those who aren't arrogantly touting their misunderstandings) that childhood measures of general ability have very little predictive validity for adult measures until they hit pubescent ages. When the course of development has more or less completed, by around their mid-20's, generally Gf shows a tight relationship with G, after which time Gf begins a decline (in old age) while Gc can continue to increase until death, assuming that no brain pathologies undermine it.
? | 9 years ago Reply
Just to clarify, I have used n back, seen no improvement based on IQ tests or real-life benefits. Many other brain games have college professors or other such people backing them up as well.

The latest research from the university of michigan is even more dismal. I encourage all that read this to search for Jaeggi 2011 where it shows no improvement in IQ for those who used it. Its just not happening folks.
Eggs | 9 years ago Reply
Child Neuropsychol. 2011 May 27:1-17. [Epub ahead of print]
Working memory training improves reading processes in typically developing children.
Loosli SV, Buschkuehl M, Perrig WJ, Jaeggi SM.

Department of Psychology, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

The goal of this study was to investigate whether a brief cognitive training intervention results in a specific performance increase in the trained task, and whether there are transfer effects to other nontrained measures. A computerized, adaptive working memory intervention was conducted with 9- to 11-year-old typically developing children. The children considerably improved their performance in the trained working memory task. Additionally, compared to a matched control group, the experimental group significantly enhanced their reading performance after training, providing further evidence for shared processes between working memory and reading.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Jun 21;108(25):10081-6. Epub 2011 Jun 13.
Short- and long-term benefits of cognitive training.
Jaeggi SM, Buschkuehl M, Jonides J, Shah P.

Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1043.

Does cognitive training work? There are numerous commercial training interventions claiming to improve general mental capacity; however, the scientific evidence for such claims is sparse. Nevertheless, there is accumulating evidence that certain cognitive interventions are effective. Here we provide evidence for the effectiveness of cognitive (often called "brain") training. However, we demonstrate that there are important individual differences that determine training and transfer. We trained elementary and middle school children by means of a videogame-like working memory task. We found that only children who considerably improved on the training task showed a performance increase on untrained fluid intelligence tasks. This improvement was larger than the improvement of a control group who trained on a knowledge-based task that did not engage working memory; further, this differential pattern remained intact even after a 3-mo hiatus from training. We conclude that cognitive training can be effective and long-lasting, but that there are limiting factors that must be considered to evaluate the effects of this training, one of which is individual differences in training performance. We propose that future research should not investigate whether cognitive training works, but rather should determine what training regimens and what training conditions result in the best transfer effects, investigate the underlying neural and cognitive mechanisms, and finally, investigate for whom cognitive training is most useful.

if you have something meaningful to say.

dont say it.

post it.
medicalstudent | 9 years ago Reply
Using children is a non-starter. I think the reasons for this should be clear.
? | 9 years ago Reply
Hello medicalstudent. Have you used threonate yet and have you noticed any performance improvements?
? | 9 years ago Reply
short answer:

yes. no.

long answer:

on day 10... or was it day 11?

damn, guess its not working.

more seriously, though, haven't been testing as much. that will change soon.

increasing intracellular mag stores will take awhile. as it appears much of the effects are the result of synaptic reconfiguration, i expect changes to occur on the order of weeks, not days.

magnesium is at the center of atp generation, chlorophyll, and glutamatergic transmission (70% of cortical neurotransmission is glutamate ive read).

it also appears that everyone is deficient. literally.

will follow up with effects, trying to be as objective as possible.
medicalstudent | 9 years ago Reply
Hello medicalstudent.
Thank you for the reply. I am placing my order this evening and I was wondering if you would share how much and how often you are taking it and how you arrive at those numbers so that I can do this in the right way.
? | 9 years ago Reply
short answer:

now at 1tsp per day, will work up to 1tbsp.

long answer:

the paper in the study clearly states the minimum effective dose (in the model they used) was 50mg/kg/day of elemental magnesium.

roughly 10% of the powder weight is elemental magnesium.

each tablespoon is roughly 5.5g (18tbsp/100g container).

human brain weight to body weight ratio 1:40 (wiki)

rat brain weight:body weight ratio 1:200

im betting, then, that humans can use 1/5 of the rats' dose to gain comparable effect (making some assumptions here)

uncorrected for assumptions: for a 70kg human male, this equates to 3.5g elemental magnesium per day from mg-t or 35g of mg-t.

corrected for assumptions: for a 70kg human male, this equates to .7g elemental magnesium per day from mg-t or 7g (~1.3tbsp) of mg-t.

started initially at 3/4tsp, now at 1tsp, will work up to 1tbsp/day.

however, i must say, 1tsp of this stuff can get me kind of tired, but science is science.

fatigue is transient.

[additionally, using other forms of magnesium (in particular topical magnesium oil (mgcl2 brine)) may load somatic magnesium and thereby spare mg-t elemental magnesium allowing more to reach the cns and lowering effective mg-t dose when used concomitantly.

taurine may also promote magnesium retention intracellularly.]

let me know if i screwed anything up with these calcs.
medicalstudent | 9 years ago Reply
Uh... the rat's brain is smaller, meaning it needed less of a dose than what a human brain would need. That is, a human would need 5 times the amount to have an equivalent dose per mass per brain-mass. However, if you factor in metabolism, it might be more like only 2.5 times more, e.g., 125mg/kg/day for a human.
? | 9 years ago Reply
more of the mag would be distributed outside of the brain in the rat, necessitating a higher dosage.

(several assumptions made here)
medicalstudent | 9 years ago Reply
Looking at the calculations involved for the increased dosage, this magnesium fad is just not cutting it for me. A total waste.
? | 9 years ago Reply
of course you may be right.
medicalstudent | 9 years ago Reply
and get on threonate already... before you are left in the dust by those who are.
medicalstudent | 9 years ago Reply
The first abstract is news to me. I'll look at it further.

However I encourage you to take a hard look through the second one. Jaeggi divided the experimental group into a "large" improvement group and a "small." Her study shows both the experimental and control group performing the same. Both groups-n-back training and trivia group did not do much better. Both did not improve IQ.

So Jaeggi took the n-back group and "proved" dual n back was effective by having those who improved at lot on n-back do better on IQ tests. Its weaker than the abstract suggests.
Eggs | 9 years ago Reply
There seems to be no control over the motivation variable here. If I were a kid, told to do some game for half an hour, maybe I'd really get into it, or maybe I'd be bored and just not care. Kids who weren't motivated would probably not have improved their score as much as the kids who were really into it.

This study design doesn't speak to what we adults tend to care about. Anyone reading this board is probably motivated to improve what brain function we can. We don't care what happens when unmotivated people go through the motions and do the same exercises we do by choice.
Khaaaan | 9 years ago Reply
This is true. There was a recent study which showed that motivation does factor into intelligence scores.
? | 9 years ago Reply
Psychol Sci. 2008 May;19(5):441-7.
Lacking power impairs executive functions.
Smith PK, Jostmann NB, Galinsky AD, van Dijk WW.

Department of Social Psychology, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Four experiments explored whether lacking power impairs executive functioning, testing the hypothesis that the cognitive presses of powerlessness increase vulnerability to performance decrements during complex executive tasks. In the first three experiments, low power impaired performance on executive-function tasks: The powerless were less effective than the powerful at updating (Experiment 1), inhibiting (Experiment 2), and planning (Experiment 3). Existing research suggests that the powerless have difficulty distinguishing between what is goal relevant and what is goal irrelevant in the environment. A fourth experiment established that the executive-function impairment associated with low power is driven by goal neglect. The current research implies that the cognitive alterations arising from powerlessness may help foster stable social hierarchies and that empowering employees may reduce costly organizational errors.


fear makes people stupid.

fear is a means of control.
medicalstudent | 9 years ago Reply
I think more robust studies are needed. Susanne Jaeggi's most recent 2011 article is one of the most downloaded at the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences of the USA. It's not like people are not interested. Perhaps in a few months or maybe even a year a new perspective will take hold. Remember the researchers intially thought that working memory would improve with dnb yet it didn't. Now we know even more.

If dual n back doesn't work it doesn't work. On to the next thing. I bet within the decade we will see either a "brain game" or a pill or technology that will help our minds tremendously.
? | 9 years ago Reply
Here is the pdf for the second abstract.
Eggs | 9 years ago Reply
thanks for input.

will do.
medicalstudent | 9 years ago Reply
Additionally you can read through the 1st abstract here.

Basically it says that their working memory task-whatever that may be-either dual n back or not-improves reading comprehension. But--there was no large transfer to gf. The explanation jaeggi gives is that there was not enough sessions to see a gf transfer yadda yadda yadda must train harder. Specifically look at page 12.
Eggs | 9 years ago Reply
Also the comments from this blog do a better job of explaining concerns with Jaeggi and her studies than I can...
Eggs | 9 years ago Reply
You're forgetting about another source. ;)
? | 9 years ago Reply
Eggs | 9 years ago Reply
You need to get out more. Jaeggi 2011 has been thoroughly debunked. It's snake oil. And I wouldn't trust any thing that comes out of that cottage factory.
? | 9 years ago Reply
# of ad-hominem counter arguments positively correlates with truth of their target.
medicalstudent | 9 years ago Reply
Right. By that logic, everything is true since an infinite number of ad hominems have been made about anything.

Absurd and stupid. Yes, that's you.
? | 9 years ago Reply
well, you made some errors i guess ;-)

- this does not follow ("since" is wrong)
- about an infinite number of things no statements where made
- only about a finite number of things statements where made
- only a finite number of statements have been made about everything
-> about every single thing only a finite number of statements have been made

(an ad hominem is a statement)

just take the above statement from medicalstudent with a grain of salt - maybe it's sort of an analogy
? | 9 years ago Reply
No, there were no errors, and my characterization functions with the same basic intent of medicalstudent's original.

You're the one making fresh errors here.
? | 9 years ago Reply
Devastating argumentation. You just convinced me that my points are totally wrong. Thanks!

? | 9 years ago Reply
Said this before, too: "Sarcasm: the first resort of the dull-witted."
? | 9 years ago Reply
That's not sarcasm
Anyway, you're trolling
so bye
? | 9 years ago Reply
? | 9 years ago Reply
find a mousetrap. except this **next** time.


dont fall in.
medicalstudent | 9 years ago Reply
You still evade the basic illogic in your reasoning and are easily distracted by the ad hominem which had nothing to do with the main point. Seems the mousetrap is your problem.
? | 9 years ago Reply
'you only acquire a trait by acting on it' This is one of my favourite quotes. To increase your IQ you have to practice and master the IQ tests, and become familiar with their problem solving style. The same as practicing with one of these games to improve on your score. These games are amazing for keeping your brain challenged and active.
just_colin | 9 years ago Reply
this person is absolutely correct, its like anything in life you must study for a test before you take it. You cant solve calculus without first knowing pre-calc. To those who claim iq cannot be increased are indolent bastards I assure you increasing ones vocabulary and problem solving abilities through novel situations and puzzles will add to your database of crytallized intelligence thus allowing for better problem solving and reasoning due to the fact that you are familiar with more than most situations because you have been introduced to more than most situations. Thus you will score higher on any iq test because you have been shaking hands with the tests while the other % of the population sits and watches tv scratching their asss. . Iq should stand for I n Q uiry .
? | 7 years ago Reply
Practicing on I.Q. tests means that through practice one is no longer measuring I.Q., thus your fallacious argument collapses under its weight.

Of course, being a meatloaf and doing nothing in life will certainly prevent one from realizing the MAXIMUM potential one was born with.
? | 9 years ago Reply
I have used dual n-back for a while now and have noticed large changes in problem solving ability. My standardized test scores have gone up because the ability to hold and manage information has increased saving time and giving accuracy. I haven't taken any official iq tests yet but I am sure they have improved considering my LSAT(g-loaded test) score has improved from 168 to 175.
chetan | 9 years ago Reply
LSAT has nothing to do with Gf, the primary means by which n-back has been shown to increase I.Q. Your improved score on LSAT has more to do with knowledge and familiarity with the test.
? | 9 years ago Reply
It is nice to see such a discussion about whether these test could help to improve your IQ-score without critically discuss what an IQ-score really means. A score on an IQ-test does not really measure intelligence, but the performing ability on some tests. Therefore an IQ-score can vary greatly if one chooses to use different IQ-tests. If one would practice the item-span tests on this site, your score on the WAIS could increase, but that still doesn't mean your intelligence grows, because it isn't helpfull with other IQ-tests like the Raven CPM. Intelligence is still an abstract concept that needs to be clarified before one could make statements if n-back practice could help to increase this.
The test on this site could help to increase your performance on certain tasks. Tests that require to manipulate stored information like the reverse digit span or reverse corsi block task, are good predictors of mathematical abilities (Passolungi & Cornoldi, 2008). Other tests could help to improve your score on other tasks. I think it is therefore redundant to discuss whether the n-back could improve your total IQ-score (which doesn't necessarily explains intelligence as a whole). It is more helpfull to see in which way your improvement on the n-back could help to improve your performances on particular tasks.
HansMeijer | 9 years ago Reply
However the 'dual' n-back (not the 'single' n-back) is quite a bit different from the other tasks. It seems that the task requires more general ability than the other tasks need.
? | 9 years ago Reply
I spent ~15min searching for comparisons of LSAT & Gf(RAPM) and only found conjectures.
I did find documented co-relations between LSAQ & IQ, & IQ & Gf.
Backing up the statement, "LSAT has nothing to do with Gf" looks like a tough slog to me.
caperMPH | 9 years ago Reply
It's amusing how others use xkcd clips to make a point that is completely irrelevant.

Continue trying and failing.
? | 9 years ago Reply
Since when is a post hoc argument preferable to pointing out the utter absence of cause and effect here?
? | 9 years ago Reply
You've clearly taken the statement out of context. Since you forget what the context is: person comes around saying their "stardardized test scores have gone up *because* the ability to hold and manage information has increased..." etc. Ignoring the fact that they have absolutely now way of proving this "because", we can still point out that an increased ability to "hold and manage information" does not necessarily lead to increased LSAT scores.

Is it really hard to understand that "slog"?
? | 9 years ago Reply

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