CogniFit has been working hard this year to continue providing our users with the highest quality games and activities. Our newest addition is a fun and challenging mathematical game called Digits.
About the game
Digits is a mathematical puzzle game that tests the user’s ability to quickly organize numbers according to the indicated rules.
While the game starts out simple enough—with only a handful of numbers and a single rule— user’s should keep their focus, because the game can quickly present a challenge for even the sharpest minds. As the game progresses, not only does the quantity of numbers increase, but also the complexity of the rules, and users will have to keep up a fast pace if they want to finish each level before the timer runs out!
The science behind the game
While playing Digits, users are stimulating specific neural activation patterns related to these cognitive abilities. Repeating and training these patterns consistently can help create new synapses, and help neural circuits reorganize and regain weakened or damaged cognitive functions.
Let’s take a look at these core cognitive abilities, how they help us with tasks, both simple and complex, in our everyday lives, and what makes them so important to everything we do:
Processing speed is one of the main cognitive abilities we rely on every day, and is a core aspect of learning, academic performance, intellectual development, reasoning, and experience.
Processing speed is a cognitive ability defined as the time it takes a person to process a situation or stimulus and develop a response. It is related to the speed at which a person can understand and react to the information they receive, whether it be visual (letters and numbers), auditory (language), or movement. In other words, processing speed is the time between receiving a stimulus and responding to it.
Poor processing speed does not mean that a person is unintelligent, but rather that some determined tasks may require more time to perform, like reading, doing math, listening and taking notes, or holding conversations. It may also interfere with executive functions, as a person with slow processing speed will have a harder time planning, setting goals, making decisions, starting tasks, or paying attention.
Some examples of how we slow processing speed might affect our daily lives:
- Does it take you an hour to do an assignment that takes others only 30 minutes?
- Do you have a hard time following instructions or planning a specific activity, especially when you don’t have a lot of time to finish it?
- Do you do poorly on exams, even when you know the material?
Working memory, or operative memory, can be defined as the set of processes that allow us to store and manipulate temporary information and carry-out complex cognitive tasks like language comprehension, reading, learning, or reasoning. Working memory is a type of short-term memory.
Working memory, according to Baddley and Hitch, is made up of a few systems, which include components for information storage and processing.
- The Central Executive System: Works like an attention supervision system that decides what we pay attention to and how to organize a sequence of operations that we will need to do to do an action.
- The Phonological Loop: This allows us to manage and retain spoken and written material in our memory.
- The Visual-spatial Agenda: This allows us to manage and retain visual information.
- The Episodic Buffer: integrates information from the phonological loop, visuospatial sketchpad, long-term memory, and the perceptive entrance into a coherent sequence.
Working memory refers to the ability that allows us to retain the elements that we need in our brain while we carry-out a certain task. Thanks to working or operative memory, we are able to:
- Integrate two or more things that took place close together. For example, remembering and responding to the information that was said during a conversation.
- Associate a new concept with previous ideas. It allows us to learn
- Retain information while we pay attention to something else. For example, we are able to prepare the ingredients that we need for a recipe while we talk on the phone.
We use our working or operative memory on a daily basis for a number of tasks. When we try to remember a telephone number before writing it down or when we are immersed in conversation: we need to remember what was just said, process it, and respond to it by giving our own opinion. When we take notes at school: we need to remember what the teacher said so that we can write it down in our own words. When we do mental math in the supermarket to see if we have enough money to pay.
Visual scanning is the ability to efficiently, quickly, and actively look for information relevant to your environment. It is what makes it possible to find what you’re looking for using just your vision. Visual scanning is an important skill for daily life and makes it possible to efficiently carry out a number of different tasks.
Visual scanning is a function of visual perception that is aimed at detecting and recognizing visual stimuli. When you want to find something in your around you, your brain will automatically go through a series of interrelated processes:
- Selective and Focused Attention: You need to be aware and focused on a stimulus in order to find it. Focused attention refers to the ability to focus your attention on a stimulus. Selective attention, however, is the ability to pay attention to a single stimulus when there are distracting stimuli present.
- Visual Perception: Makes it possible to distinguish, identify, and interpret shapes, colors, and lights. This is when you make sense of the information that you receive from your eyes.
- Recognition: Comparing the visual information you receive to determine whether or not you have prior experience with said information.
- Visual Scanning: Looking through all or part of your field of view to try to compare what you’re seeing to what you’re looking for. You will stop looking as soon as you recognize the information that you’re looking for.
If any of these processes are altered, it would be impossible to locate a target object, either because you can’t find it (poor attention), because you can’t distinguish the object from its surroundings (poor perception), because you don’t recognize the stimulus (poor recognition), or because you don’t properly scan the area (poor visual scanning).
- There are a number of jobs that require visual scanning. Police officers or members of the military have to be able to quickly and precisely detect objects that may be dangerous. Store employees have to use visual scanning to keep an eye out for products that may be misplaced or clients that need help. Almost any job has some level of a visual component that requires good visual scanning.
- Students are constantly using visual scanning at school, whether it’s to pay attention to the board, read a book, or understand a presentation. It would difficult to study new material if the student is unable to find the word or idea in their notes or textbooks when they are trying to review the information before a test.
- Driving requires you to constantly be on the lookout for other cars, accidents, potential hazards, traffic signs, pedestrians, and a number of other objects or situations. Poor visual scanning may inhibit your ability to successfully scan the environment for potential problems, decreasing your driving ability.
- Visual scanning is an essential part of playing sports. Most sports require you to easily and quickly scan the space for relevant stimuli, which may be teammates, rivals, a ball, a goal, or any other vital component of the game. If you are playing football and want to pass the ball to a teammate, you have to visually scan the field to find him or her and then pass the ball to them.
How to play the game
The objective of Digits is to organize the various numbers in an ascending and/or descending order, based on the rules indicated at each moment. As the level increases, the quantity of numbers to order will also increase. Users need to stay focused and order the numbers as quickly as possible—trying to avoid mistakes which can cause them to lose points—before the time runs out.
One of the fundamental parts of mathematics is the numerical value— that is, if one figure is greater than, equal to, or less than another. Although this is something that we learn in childhood, and most of us understand this concept very easily, it can be challenging to apply it in the real world when under pressure.
CogniFit’s newest game Digits presents an engaging and fun way to train the cognitive skills that can help us to keep a sharp mind and boost our abilities related to numerical value.