Brain Fitness, Day 3

Third Day, Second Exercise session

Today the program began with asking me what kind of visual rewards I wanted to choose when I progress. I gather that these visual rewards are for two purposes. The first is to give the brain a rest from the repetitive learning environment with something interesting.  The second is to help produce the endorphins that help reinforce new neuronal pathways. The program offered me the choice of seeing travel photos, animals, pets, color, music and one other choice. It think one choice should be a “surprise me” reward. I chose pets.

Yesterday’s session was two fifteen-minute sessions; today’s is three fifteen-minute sessions, including a new exercise called “Match It.”

The High & Low session began with a warm up. I am glad that the program did not assume that I recall all of the progress I made yesterday. It was good, but a challenge at the end. The warm up helped, and I even earned points for them. The first exercises were not that hard, building up my confidence and desire. Soon, I saw something new. It was a message that I “earned an animation.” The animations were of cute animals engaged in surprising and stupid antics. They did make me smile and laugh. And knowing that laughing raises the endorphins and improves my ability to remember what I’ve learned, I laughed easily and aloud. I like this program.

Today, I earned 1373 points in High & Low. I felt certain that I committed less errors and the score gave my feeling a confirmation. I really did get better at differentiating between the up chirps and the down chirps.

“Tell Us Apart” is the second exercise, just like yesterday. After finishing the fifteen-minute segment, I was surprised that I was having so much trouble distinguishing between the “g” & “d” and the “t” & “d.” I know that it is not this bad in real life, so I didn’t take the exercise personally. It’s just a way to improve my ability to hear better and thus, out-hear my baby boomer peers! (Evil laughing in the background: HA HA HA HA!)

At the end of this session, I found myself pressing over and over the recording of the progress, “d” “d” “d” “d” “t” “d” “t” “d” “d” “d” “t”… By contrast, I haven’t had as much trouble hearing the difference between the d’s and b’s.

The new exercise is called “Match It.” It’s like the game of “Concentration.” I felt a bit nervous. It required more concentration that just listening to sounds. For this exercise, I listened to sounds that correspond to positions on a grid. The sounds play when clicked, and my task was to remember where they are and find the pairs. At first, the sounds were easily distinguishable, like “cat” and “chow.” Later, it gets more difficult by making me remember sounds that sound more alike, like “cat” “bat’ and “hat.” For one short section, I heard sounds that aren’t even words, making me focus on the pure sound without meaning, like “chey” and “laa.” The requirement of focus is just what is intended however, because it is through intense focus that the brain can learn new patterns in spite of the old ones.

The human brain is a “use it or lose it” brain. What we use gets reinforced and we begin to lose whatever faculty was using that part of the brain before. So, old patterns can be “lost” by using that area of the brain for a different pattern that is interesting and more rewarding.

I did pretty good with the first two stages of “Match It.” First, it meant matching sounds on a grid of 8, then 16, then 24 places. Like “Concentration” some pairings are purely coincidental, others are found by concentrating and recalling, others are not a conscious memory, but a correct one if the hunch is acted upon.

Today’s score summary:

  • High & Low score of 2477. It’s primarily for improving processing speed.
  • Tell us Apart is 1239. It’s for discriminating sounds.
  • My “Match It” was only 705, even though I had no major screwups. Match It is for sound precision.

My second day was good! I am looking forward to sharing this progress with my friends.

P.S. I get a newsletter from Posit Science. This July they announced a new program called Brain HQ and there is a reduced price for subscribers. (It’s easy to subscribe. Use this link and look for the sign up in the left column.) Brain HQ right now is only $10 per month or $99.00 per year and it includes all the online time you want for brain training! Get more details here. These brain training games are now sociable, so you can compete with members of your family and the brain training community. (As I understand it.) If I get my mom to sign up, its a reduced rate for her and we can help encourage each other’s mental fitness.

To see more days of progress, click the category “Posit Brain Fitness” in the right column.

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