08 December 2009

Your Brain on Games

Interesting project in Canada:

Brain games to help those at retirement age keep working
image Toronto's Baycrest centre is staking a claim to a piece of the booming brain fitness market with a new company, Cogniciti, and a new generation of brain games aimed at helping baby boomers keep their minds sharp and boost their productivity in the workplace well into old age.

Brain-fitness industry grows as baby-boomers work to stay sharp.
image … The games rely on two biological principles: the brain's ability to grow new nerve cells, called neurogenesis, and its ability to grow connections between different brain cells, called neuroplasticity.

Some very intelligent folk are taking Brain Games very seriously.  A business colleague is starting a company devoted to Brain Games implementation. It’s a bit early to talk about it, but I probably will soon.

What’s the story with advertising and Brain Games?  That’s been a problem.  Because of clumsy tactics, most advertising/marketing/PR is still doing more harm than good. A post from March:

The Brain Games Game
You certainly get the ‘hard-sell’ impression that if you don’t buy and play these games, eventually your brain will leak out of your nose and ears.  Why not just tell the truth?  These are high-tech, stimulating computer-generated exercises that will help keep your mind sharp - are structured, measurable to some degree (so they’re useful for medical research), and quite entertaining.  And there are a lot of them – so you won’t get bored just playing one over and over.

Dr. Gary Small agrees:

(Robert Lipsyte) Stop me if I'm wrong, but there just seems something a little hucksterish, opportunistic, snake oil about the brain gyms.

image (Dr. Gary Small) It seems snake oil-ish because some of the marketing tends to suggest that it's going to do more than it really can, and there's lots of companies trying to capitalize on this, and a lot of these devices are merely toys.

Click the graphic below and you’ll be magically transported to Life (Part2) on PBS.org:

Then watch the show.  It’s a good one.

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