July 25, 2012, the day I opened the software to install. I see it is by Posit Science as ordered and it is version 2.0.1.
After installation, the introductory video began. Here I was reminded that in the future, I could watch for improvements in “better remembering, sharper focus, quicker thinking and increased alertness.” Later, I was told, and thought it worthy to remember, “The goal is to apply focus to achieve your best. Not to win.”
The first session wasn’t really an exercise. It was probably less than ten minutes, very easy, presumably for familiarity with the basic design. To begin, the program handed me the task of distinguishing between two sliding notes, like bird whistles. Do they go up? Or down? The program indicated that the first session is designed for calibration and that it is designed to adapt to my learning process.
Starting easy is a great learning tool as it builds trust and confidence. Not too long into this short calibrating session, it became more challenging as the whistles became shorter and faster. (Oddly, one of my first reactions to the program, writing just a couple of minutes later, is that I am noticing that I am making more spelling mistakes than usual. Is it due to brain stress?!)
The task was simple enough. Two whistle sounds were presented, and my task was to respond, via the mouse, indicating if the notes were both upward, sliding downward, or first up then down or vise versa. I think it is important to start here. Some people considering a brain fitness program may want something immediately more challenging. But I think we should start with the basics. Especially if it is fun and promising. If it gets boring, I will re-evaluate.
I am glad that the set up was easy on my Windows XP. They must have anticipated that many users are not all that computer savvy and so they put extra effort to make this program user-friendly. The introduction used a kind male voice (though it is possible this is not always the chosen voice-over). My experience of the voice was that it was friendly and inviting, though it told me to expect some challenges ahead. (“Good,” I thought. “I got this to be challenging!”)
The voice-over shared some basic information about the structure of the brain and identified which parts would be strengthened from the program. Further trust was established by listing several universities from the US and abroad that were included in the design and testing of “Brain Fitness.” I got the feeling that the high quality of the program did not raise the profit margin, just the expenses of creating it.
Tomorrow, I will begin the first training session. I am excited about stopping (or slowing) the usual symptoms of an aging brain.