Art by Momigara

Specifically, we are talking about fluid intelligence and working memory.

“The most important point of our work is that we can show that it is possible to improve fluid intelligence,” said Martin Buschkuehl, a psychology researcher based at the University of Bern, Switzerland. “It was assumed that fluid intelligence was immutable.”

Brain Workshop – a Dual N-Back game

Further Reading:



7 thoughts on “How to Improve Intelligence and Memory

  1. Ok, tried out the Back N-game. Played 6 games in a row, finally passed to Level 3 after 5 games of Level 2 where I got completely smashed. The funny thing is, just as the LifeHacker article mentions, your brain becomes tired when you finish… which can only be a good sign. I think I’ll try to work this into my morning routine, or something.

    1. Yes, it takes time to get used to it. Also they mention that it is important not to overdo it. Five days per week is optimal they say. I am going to keep it up for about a month and see how it goes.

    1. Yeah, it is quite confusing at first actually.

      Let’s deconstruct Dual N-Back.

      First, let’s forget the dual part, start with a single stimulus. Let’s say it is integers.

      Now we have Mono N-Back. If we have sound and integers, than it is Dual N-Back because two modalities are involved.

      Set’s make it even more specific by setting N to one.

      Then we have Mono 1-Back.

      Your goal is to press a button if you have a match. Let’s define a “match”. Matching with 1-Back happens if the stimulus matches the one you just have seen. For 2-Back, the match occurs if the stimulus is the same as two items ago, and so on for 3, 4, etc. -Back

      For example, let’s use integers with 1-Back.

      Display 1: 3
      Your reaction: Don’t do anything, it is the first stimulus

      Display 2: 5
      Your reaction: Don’t do anything, because 3 is not 5

      Display 3: 5
      Your reaction: Press a key, because 5 = 5

      Similarly, instead of numbers you can have positions, sounds, pictures, etc.

      Let’s try 2-Back now.

      Display 1: 3
      Your reaction: Don’t do anything, it is the first stimulus

      Display 2: 5
      Your reaction: Don’t do anything, because it’s only the second stimulus

      Display 3: 3
      Your reaction: Press a key, because 3 matches the stimulus two items ago.

      Thus, you have to constantly keep and update a chunk of information in mind. The higher the N, the more difficult it is. Also the more different stimuli you have, the more difficult it is. However, they showed that even if you have one modality, the results are comparable, so you could just stick to Mono N-Back and progress from there. Doing even 3-Back is not easy and takes practice to progress to higher levels.

    1. It is right after the last video and before the Further Reading. I guess it can be misleading because it is a heading and a link – sorry about that.

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