Tag Archives: brain games

Semantic Memory: “It’s on the tip of my tongue!”

“It’s on the tip of my tongue!” Semantic memory stores what we now about the world and language. When we want to remember certain things that we’ve learned like the capital of France or the current president of the United States, we’re efficiently using our semantic memory.Find out what semantic memory is, how it works, how it can be improved, and some of the problems related to poor semantic memory.

What is semantic memory? Photo by Tachina Lee on Unsplash

What is semantic memory?

What is semantic memory? Tulving was the first person to establish the term “semantic memory”, which is a type of memory that holds meaning and general knowledge, where our specific experiences don’t come into play.

For example, if you want to answer the question “how many hours are there in a day?”, you don’t have to remember the exact moment in your life that you learned it. Semantic memory allows us to “automatically” remember that there are 24 hours in a day, without having to recall the specific events that led to us learning the information.

We use semantic memory to remember concepts that we’ve learned about the world and language. There is also a type of long-term memory that we acquire that, once it’s learned, we’ll remember it for the rest of our lives.

Semantic memory extends to all of the knowledge that we may learn. For example, if we want to remember that a lion is a mamas that has 4 legs, you don’t need to relate it to any specific event or experience that you’ve had with a lion- it’s just in our brain.

  • Semantic memory is a type of long-term memory: It allows us to remember things for days, years, or decades. There is no limit on its duration.
  • Semantic memory is declarative: This means that we are constantly using it.
  • Difference between episodic and semantic memory: Episodic memory is how we remember autobiographical memories, like what you ate for breakfast, or what you did last weekend. The main difference between these two types of memories is that semantic memory is a type of dictionary that doesn’t require that you have any specific personal knowledge or experience with the word.

Where are words located in the brain? A team of scientists created an interactive map of the areas of the brain that are activated when certain words are heard. This semantic brain map shows how language is distributed through the cortex and both hemispheres of the brain, grouping words by meaning and constructing a brain dictionary.

What does semantic memory do?

Semantic memory gives us a mental dictionary that organizes words, concepts, and symbols that we store throughout our life. It allows us to reserve cognitive resources and interpret, quickly and easily, the world in which we live.

Semantic memory is a fundamental part of our daily life. For example, it allows us to “automatically” know that lions are mammals, without having to go through our brain and think bout the lions that we’ve seen in our life.

Our semantic memory gives a general meaning to the word “lion”: Large mammal with four legs and lots of hair around its head.

If we had to think about all of the lions that exist in the world in order to remember and describe it, it would be impossible. Semantic memory gives us the ability to group multiple concrete concepts (animals, people, objects, etc.) into general concepts. These things can be categorized into an infinite number of areas, like animals, objects, living things, non-living things, mammals, reptiles, etc.).

Alterations of semantic memory: Access disorders and semantic storage

People with semantic dementia: Have problems finding the right meanings for concepts. As with almost any pathology or disorder, symptoms and characteristics of the disorder vary from patient to patient. Semantic dementia is characterized by a difficulty in remembering the meaning of concepts or words, but don’t necessarily have trouble carrying-out the task that the word represents. For example, they may have trouble remembering the word/concept “iron”, but they would be able to use an iron.

People with damage to the prefrontal cortex: It’s been shown that patients with damage to the prefrontal cortex may have trouble carrying-out a task related to a certain word or concept, but don’t have trouble recalling the concept (the inverse of the previous point). People with this kind of brain damage are unable to to certain tasks that may seem simple to others, like going to the dentist when their gums hurt, or washing their clothes when they’re dirty, but are easily able to recall the words for these actions.

Alzheimer’s Disease: Poor episodic (autobiographical) memory is a common characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease, but semantic memory is affected as well. Patients with Alzheimer’s tend to develop language disorders and have a hard time carrying out tasks related to a word or concept.

Exercises to improve semantic memory

1. CogniFit, leader in cognitive assessments and brain games

Being able to easily recall words from our vocabulary is one of our main cognitive skills as humans. Without this, we would constantly be searching for a word in our memory and have that feeling of “it’s on the tip of my tongue!”. It’s common to sometimes forget the exact word that you’re looking for, but if it happens often, it may be a sign of poor semantic memory.

CogniFit is a professional tool that helps assess and improve access to our vocabulary. Studying neuroplasticity has shown that the more we use a neural circuit, the stronger it gets. This idea can be applied to the neural circuits related to naming, working memory, short-term memory, visual memory, auditory short-term memory, contextual memory, etc.

The ability to find the correct word for an object or concept can be improved if it is properly trained. The battery of clinical exercises from CogniFit allows you to assess and train your Naming and other cognitive skills related to memory.

How does CogniFit work? The program first evaluates your cognitive level in certain cognitive skills (like naming), and based on the results gathered, provides a complete brain training program.

The different interactive exercises are presented as fun brain games that can be played on a mobile device or computer. After each session, CogniFit will provide a detailed graph with the user’s cognitive progression.

2. Remember what’s going on around you

Its good to remember what’s going on around you: The best exercises for improving semantic memory are remembering a series of words and increasing the amount and difficulty of the word. For example, try to remember all 50 states in the United States, then the each state’s capitals, and then move on to continents and countries.

3. Learn new languages and travel

Learning new language requires us to expand and learn new vocabulary, new grammar rules, and new sentence structures. Our semantic memory is constantly being used and strengthened as we learn language.

Seeing new places and learning about new cultures can also help you find new ways of doing things. For example, if you might learn that people in a different culture eat, clean, or raise their children differently than you. Exposing yourself to these new ideas can help you adapt to situations when you’re back in your home country.

4. Give meaning to ideas by understand what you’re learning

How does the brain learn? Studies have shown that we learn better and more quickly if we give meaning to the concepts that we learn. For example, when studying for a test, you’ll learn the information much better if you give it some kind of meaning aside from the concept itself. Learn more about memory techniques.

5. Exercises for patients with semantic memory problems

There are a number of different exercises that you can do to help improve semantic memory. You can write down a series of basic questions that the patient has to answer. If they answer incorrectly, correct them in the moment. For example, you could ask the season in the year, the names of the months, or what are the numbers between 1 and 15.

You can also give them incomplete sentences that they have to complete. For example, “lemons are the color…”, “The capital of the USA is…”, etc.

We use our semantic memory everyday, and there is hardly any point of the day where we aren’t using it. It helps us talk, communicate, and learn about the objects and concepts of the world around us. With all of the information that we have stored in our semantic memory, it’s amazing that we’re able to keep it organized and pull up the words that we want at a given time. If you tried to re-learn the days of the week without giving it any meaning, it would be almost impossible. Semantic memory allows us to reserve cognitive resources and store more information in our brain.

Semantic memory allows us to figure out how the world works and carry out the necessary tasks to get through the day (if you’re sick, you go to the doctor), and follow “scripts” almost automatically (go to a restaurant, wait until you’re seated, order food, etc.).

Do you have any questions? Leave me a comment below 🙂

This article was originally written in Spanish by Eva Rodriguez Weisz

Pregnancy and the brain: How does it change you?

You might know how the relationship between the brain and the menstrual cycle, but what about pregnancy? With all the hormones surging through your veins throughout pregnancy, it’s no surprise that your brain function might change a little. Find out more about pregnancy and the brain below!

Pregnancy and the brain

Do you have “pregnancy brain”? Take the test below to find out!

1. How often do you walk into a room meaning to do something, only to forget what you were supposed to do?
  • The surge in hormones directs your attention elsewhere, which may cause you to forget things more often than usual!
2. How often do you forget common, everyday things (Ex. forgetting to put on shoes, forgetting names of family members)?
  • Sleep depravation combined with all of your hormones can contribute to memory loss. But fear not, brain games can help you bring back some of your usual clarity!
3. How often do you feel overwhelmed?
  • It's completely normal to feel overwhelmed, especially if it's your first child! There's a lot to worry about between preparing for the new baby and caring for your own health. Just remember to take a deep breath every once in a while, and try out the tips below.
4. How often do you feel frustrated about not remembering as much as you used to?
  • It's common to feel frustrated, especially when you don't feel like your normal self. Check out the tips below to learn how you can combat this, and feel more like yourself!

Pregnancy and the brain

As you already know, the brain gets flooded with hormones during pregnancy. During the first trimester, it’s common to feel a mix of happiness, anxiety, or even upset after an unplanned pregnancy. These feelings can intensify in the second trimester. And as you grow more uncomfortable in the third trimester, your feelings of anxiety might grow as well. For some mothers, these emotions can be more intense than usual, leading to severe anxiety or depression. And while some of the blame can be placed on the stresses of becoming a parent, we can also blame the hormones for changing the chemical balance in the brain.

But this all helps the mother to prepare for childhood by being less responsive to stress and more responsive to her child. Although it seems like all it does is change your cognitive function, it’s really helping you to be a more sensitive mother. For example, some studies actually show that when a fetus moves, the mother’s heart rate, emotions, and skin conductance increase, even if she’s not aware of the movement. A hormone, called oxytocin, also plays a major role in pregnancy. It helps to contract the muscles of the uterus during birth, and is actually used by doctors to slow down bleeding during birth. And during pregnancy, the hormone helps the mother feel calmer, get more sleep, and to get more nutrients, to help with her energy levels. Once the baby is born, oxytocin is released by both mother and baby, which helps to create a sense of euphoria and to foster the mother-child bond. Want to read more about the types of neurotransmitters?

Some women can experience what is known and “pregnancy brain”, which involves frequent forgetfulness. We could place some of the blame on the hormones, but only some studies show cognitive deficits during pregnancy. In fact, other studies actually show that pregnant women perform just as well as other women in cognitive tests. So what really is to blame? Well, while the hormones are preparing you for motherhood, it’s directing your attention away from things you would normally pay attention to. Combine that with worries about the baby, your health, and sleep deprivation, it’s a wonder you can even function at all! So the bottom line is, just because your brain feels a little “foggier” than usual, doesn’t mean you’re losing any IQ points. It just means that your brain is getting you ready to be the best mom you can be. Luckily, you can still train your brain with brain fitness programs, which will help you keep your cognitive skills in top shape throughout your pregnancy!

Pregnancy and the brain: Your brain after birth

The fogginess felt during pregnancy eventually goes away after birth. And while your brain is trying to rebalance its chemistry, it’s also directing its activity to places that will help you as a mother. For example, during pregnancy, activity increases in areas controlling social interactions, empathy, and anxiety. In the postpartum period, these changes are amplified by even more hormone surges. In addition, a mother will start to feel overwhelming emotions of love, protectiveness, and worry about raising a baby. You can see the crazy effects of pregnancy and the brain!

Some research has shown that there is growth in the amygdala and the hypothalamus. This helps with emotional regulation, survival instincts, and the production of hormones. This growth increases weeks and months after birth. This has been linked to mothers having a positive view and positive feelings towards their baby. It also allows a mother to wake up in the middle of the night when their baby is crying, without getting too frustrated.

Knowing about all of these emotional changes allows us to understand things like postpartum depression, obsessive compulsions, and anxiety. In fact, amygdala damage is associated with higher depression rates in mothers. Studies also show that reward centers (such as the thalamus and amygdala) in the brain actually light up whenever a mother just stares at her baby. This causes the attentiveness and the affection a mother feels towards her baby. But in depression, this activity isn’t as prominent.

How to keep your brain sharp- Pregnancy and the brain

All of these changes can be overwhelming, and it can add greatly to your stresses. Follow these tips to keep your brain sharp, and to keep you mentally healthy!

  1. Sleep deprivation can lead to much of the forgetfulness experienced during pregnancy. Not having enough sleep prevents the brain from focusing on caring for your baby. So the answer is obvious, get more sleep! This might seem like an impossible task, but getting at least 8 hours a night can really help you feel back on your feet. Fight the urge to be productive while the baby is napping and instead, opt to take a nap. And when the baby wakes up in the middle of the night, try to trade it off with your partner, so you feel less groggy in the morning.

  2. Write things down. Or more specifically, write everything down. Writing will help you greatly in trying to remember things. Not to mention, having everything in one place will keep you sane. Invest in a planner or notebook, and carry it with you everywhere, so you’re always on top of things.

  3. Try playing some brain games. Brain games allow you to use your cognitive abilities and stimulate your brain using specific training exercises. CogniFit offers a large variety of free online mind games, which are specifically designed to target your overall brain health.

Self-appraisal: apply this method to improve your performance.

What is self-appraisal? What is it for? What are its advantages and disadvantages? In this article, we will answer these questions and more. Also, we will give advice so that you can apply, self-evaluations to any aspect of your life. This method is not only great for students, it’s also necessary to establish what abilities are needed from us in different areas of life.

Self-appraisal

Self-appraisal: Meaning and importance

What is self-appraisal? A self-appraisal or self-evaluation is a method that allows evaluation of one’s own strengths and weaknesses in a specific task. The difference from hetero-evaluation and co-evaluation, is that the first is usually done by your boss or a superior and the latter is done by members of your group.

It’s possible to do self-assessments or self-appraisals through different methods. They are an essential tool in order to face with assurance any challenge. If we want a positive outcome it’s important to do a self-assessment in order to extract convenient conclusions and act accordingly.

Practice tests in driving education or at the end of a book chapter are examples of self-appraisals. Here you will find out everything you need to know so you can adequately estimate your knowledge and performance in different areas.

What are the purpose of self-appraisals?

We have all done have done a self-appraisal for one reason or another, be it to cause a good impression public speaking, to test our memory, or to inquire our strengths and weaknesses as friends or partners, etc. We will write the areas in which self-appraisal is key and how to use this tool.

Self-Appraisal in education

Regardless of the education stage, self-evaluation of knowledge, aptitude and cognitive abilities is essential to pass any subject. Generally, even if we haven’t done a self-assessment, when taking an exam or giving in a paper, we have an idea what the outcome might be. However, taking practice tests beforehand may help adjust our skills to the task objectives and help us overcome our academic challenges with precision and effectiveness. Self-appraisals allow each student to learn at their own pace in a responsible manner.

Nerves before an exam or a challenge is something natural in spite of our preparation. However, if we have practiced and corrected our mistakes previously we can tackle the task with trustworthiness and self-control. On the other hand, professors can also benefit from this tool to enhance their work performance or even make self-appraisal a class objective.

Neuroscience and educational neuroscience have aimed to improve formative assessments and self-appraisals in schools. CogniFit educational technology and platform, based on neuro-education, is one of the most popular and used computer-based program in educational neuroscience. It has been applied in different schools around the world with high effectiveness for all students, especially for students with special needs or learning disabilities.

Self-appraisal: CogniFit neuro-education evaluation

This scientific resource, designed to optimize self-appraisal and educational processes, has been created for educators and has proven to be quite effective in exploring cognitive processes involved in learning.

This CogniFit tool evaluates different cognitive areas that can help teachers, parents, and students know themselves better and identify certain neurological causes related to school failure.

Through this tool, CogniFit, develops personalized cognitive training and rehabilitation for children so that they can improve their cognitive abilities such as attention, memory, planning and others that are fundamental for learning and performance in different subjects.

How does it work? This tool is easy to use, the first is for students to develop a baseline by completing the full cognitive evaluation. This self-evaluation and its report will determine with precision which cognitive areas are strong and which require training. All of the brain games developed by CogniFit have been designed and validated clinically in order to identify cognitive strengths and weaknesses involved in learning.

Also, using the results of this initial evaluation, CogniFit program, designs and programs specific training for each child according to their needs.

School failure is one of the biggest concerns in the educational system. Therefore it is of importance to teach about brain knowledge in education.  For students to develop full learning skills it’s important for schools to have neuro-educative tools at their disposal.

Self-Appraisal at work

Self-assessment at the workplace should become a habit for most of us. Some companies ask their employees that they self-evaluate periodically while others just expect the initiative to come from themselves.

When faced with a promotion or discovering that we are not being efficient, it’s crucial to reflect on our strengths and weaknesses in order to maximize our capacities and correct our mistakes. To elaborate a previously reasonable diagnosis is the first step to problem resolution.

Moreover, self-appraisal is not the only thing necessary when evaluating our performance. If the analysis of our self-evaluation is correct, we can even manage to increment our motivation, self-efficacy, and self-control. Sometimes we are stuck in our ways and can’t see a different way of doing things, making it difficult to leave our comfort zone. However, asking ourselves if we are responsible, on time, team players, organized or have other qualities that are relevant for our job might help us find other opportunities. Stopping to examine our work situation in a holistic and unbiased way may open the doors to improving our performance, work relationship, correcting mistakes, etc.

Self-Appraisal in health

There are signs and symptoms relative to our mental and physical health that we can observe in our bodies. Checking our body for these signs is important when detecting or discarding any diseases. Negative thoughts and self-evaluations can cause acne or other skin problems. Nonetheless, if after a self-appraisal we notice something unusual it’s important not to rush into conclusions without consulting with a physician or other professionals capable of professionally making a diagnosis. Currently, there are several online cognitive assessments, that help us measure our cognitive abilities and understand brain areas and brain functions.

Self-evaluation in everyday life

It’s common for people to question their acts and thoughts. Have I offended him with my words? Is this outfit fit for an interview? It’s normal, healthy and acceptable to reflect on our day to day actions (unless we are being irrational or too hard on ourselves).

In this case, we don’t have specific parameters from which to make a self-evaluation. Everyone is free to choose what are their aspirations and goals. Our well-being depends mainly on who we want to be and what aspects we consider relevant. Therefore, our self-appraisals will differ from person to person.

There are no reliable, valid or fair guides about what models should we follow when doing a self-assessment, however, we must not let subjectiveness lead the way. Aspects such as our social relationships, how much time we dedicate to what makes us happy if we behave according to our values and other aspects of our personal life should be reviewed periodically in order to develop our personal growth.

Self-Appraisal: Examples

With these examples, you will be able to apply these different self-appraisal methods to the areas you consider most important. The most crucial thing to keep in mind is that you must feel comfortable with the method and it should adapt to your goals.

  • Book: textbooks usually have different chapters which end with a review section where they invite readers to critically think about aspects in the chapter and sometimes even include mini assessments or tests. This is a self-appraisal that allows checking how much knowledge we retained of the subject at hand.
  • Digital resources: Web pages and apps that enable us to evaluate our knowledge are in constant growth. Online self-appraisals or self-evaluations give immediate answers to different questions and are accessible at any moment in time. Unfortunately, they are limited to closed answers and don’t leave much space for creative answers. For example, we can download tests on a specific topic in Biology or on our knowledge of emotions.
  • Self-appraisal sheet: We can write how we think we did in a specific activity, the areas that need improvement, our strengths, how much progress have we made since our last self-appraisal, etc. We may find a document that already includes the questions we need or custom make it fit your needs. In order to create your own, it’s paramount to think about relevant things (for example, Am I nice to strangers), order and rate them accordingly.

Regardless of the format, the fundamental aspect is that we know how to interpret our results and continue practicing motivated. Any resource that helps us learn, maintain information and retain content will contribute to further skill building in any field.

Self-Appraisal: Benefits

Self-evaluations have many benefits, that combined with other strategies are a fantastic tool.

  • They are fit for any age: From preschoolers to older adults can benefit from this tool and learn to be critical about themselves (in a healthy way). In each stage in life we have interests and different missions, therefore, we have to self-evaluate ourselves in different spheres. No matter the case, a self-assessment is always going to be helpful.
  • They grant us to know our level in a specific task: Sometimes we think we have tried everything in order to reach our goals. We have been polite to our neighbors, we have read loads of information on leadership, etc. However, we might not be adapting how we should to the different circumstances. If the self-appraisal is done correctly, it is easier for us to tackle our goals with a more realistic approach.
  • Useful way to practice: Self-appraisal facilitates knowledge and abilities in a flexible and practical way that we can adapt to our needs. They are a perfect addition to activities we decide to do, regardless of the activity itself.
  • Reinforces knowledge: When taking a moment to establish new goals, we usually review the subjects we studied or focus on a specific aspect of our life. When performing a self-evaluation we tend to make connections between ideas, enabling for them to be retained in our long-term memory.
  • Helps us get to know ourselves better: Self-appraisal stimulates self-examination. It not only allows us to dive in our general knowledge but also leads us to question personal aspects of ourselves regardless of the purpose of the self-evaluation. For example, the things we most question are our sense of responsibility, virtues, defects, etc.
  • Encourages independence: self-appraisal is a habit we should incorporate in our lives since it permits us to control our progress and deficits and helps us be more responsible and independent when dealing with tasks.
  • Increases our motivation: Receiving feedback can motivate us to continue working hard. Knowing our deficiencies and still being able to get good results is a good incentive to continue. Are you up for a self-appraisal?

Self-Appraisal: Tips to improve learning

Do self-evaluation relaxed

If you are tired, stressed or for some reason can’t concentrate in the self-appraisal, it’s better to postpone it. If you carry on in that state, your performance will decrease and your results won’t be representative.

Be realistic

Only by performing a self-assessment we won’t progress, we need to establish a specific goal. For example: improve our memory.

Be honest with yourself

It’s tempting to perform a self-appraisal guided by a book that contains answers or have a friend help us answer, or search the internet for the best option, etc. However, this is just a way to cheat ourselves. If we want to take advantage of this tool, we have to be as truthful as possible.

See failure as a good thing

It’s normal to fail and our self-appraisals will not be what we expected. Don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s important to recognize our mistakes but also our merits. It’s important to know the weight of our criticism on ourselves. Pessimism will only come back as negative performance.

Be organized

If you want to progress it’s important to be systematic in your actions and never stop challenging yourself. If meditating these aspects is difficult, set a time and place for self-appraisal, it doesn’t take much time and the benefits are worth it.

Test different types of self-appraisal

You might not like a multiple choice test but rather short essay questions where you can write about your opinions and knowledge. It’s ok to try different methods and you can even combine as many as you like in order to achieve a broader perspective.

Take advantage of new technologies

Recently, neuro-education is booming. Thanks to new advances in this field and in different technologies, life is changing rapidly and many resources are being created to increase the quality of life. Each day we have more information on how our brain works.

CogniFit is a leading company in cognitive evaluation and cognitive stimulation. It’s mainly for professional researchers and doctors. However, anyone can have access to its online platform. Through different and fun brain games it makes it possible to detect and train cognitive areas that need a bit more exercise.

 

Thank you for reading. Have you ever performed a self-appraisal? Do you think it’s a good tool? What strategies do you use? Please feel free to comment below.

 

This article is originally in Spanish by Ainhoa Arranz Aldana, translated by Alejandra Salazar.

How to improve your memory: Tips to stop forgetting things

At some time in our lives, we’ve all had to search through the entire house to find something because we didn’t remember where we left it, or we forgot something somewhere or an important date like a birthday or anniversary slipped our minds. If this has happened to you, maybe you could use a few tips on how to improve memory.

 

For starters, you should know that all of these situations are common, especially as we age. But aging isn’t the only factor that can affect our memory. Stress and anxiety, being easily distracted or not paying attention to what you’re doing are all things that affect our memory. Even having a not-so-healthy diet, consisting more of burgers and shakes than fruits and vegetables, can play a role in how our memory works.

To keep your memory working well, it’s important to have a balanced diet based on nutritious foods. Doctors recommend 5 pieces of fresh fruit and vegetables everyday, along with fish, grains, beans, lean mean, and whole grains. This way we can make sure we’re getting all of the necessary nutrients that our brains, bodies, and nervous systems need to work properly.

Nutrition is closely related to brain health, but like the rest of our muscles, it needs to be worked out to keep it in shape. These are some exercises that you can do to challenge and train your brain.

How to improve memory with games and exercises

-Do crossword puzzles and Sudoku.

-Memorize your shopping list or the characters in a movie or book.

-Use mnemonic devices, or associating ideas, to remember things.

-Go to work a new way.

-Learn a new language.

-Make rhymes, it’ll help you memorize something complicated.

-Go to a new, unknown place.

-Read a different section of the newspaper.

-Learn to play a musical instrument.

-Write down what you want to memorize, it’ll be easier for you to retain the information.

-Try to use your non-dominant hand to eat or write.

-Do mental exercises, place chess or bridge.

-Learn a new word everyday.

-Practice memory games with CogniFit.

 

Brain Games: Mental Fitness, Fun, or Both? | AT&T Thread

Brain Games: Mental Fitness, Fun, or Both?

In the article on AT&T Thread, brain games and brain traning is questioned. By understanding what these applications do, we can better understand how to use them.

What do you want to achieve?

Brain training applications say that they can train certain parts of the brain in order to improve in various aspects of your life, like performing better at work, recalling names, and reducing stress. How does this happen? Studies have shown that it is possible to create new neural pathways in the brain, making it possible to overcome difficulties and improve assets. Brain plasticity or neuroplasticity allows the brain to create more of these neural pathways, which can enhance reaction time, processing speed, and global cognition.

Applications or websites like CogniFit, Elevate, and Fit Brain all claim to help improve cognitive areas such as memory, concentration, mental reflexes, and problem solving. Other applications are available that focus mainly on memory building.

There are also a range of games and apps used for relaxation and meditation.

Christi Durden, an RN in Seattle was quoted in the AT&T Thread article talking about her personal experience with brain games. “It’s both challenging and relaxing” she says. Durden mentions how working in the health care field makes one very conscious of the difficulties that memory loss causes. While she has no proof that the games have helped her memory, she claimed that they are entertaining and made her better at the individual game.

Brain Games: Mental Fitness, Fun, or Both? | AT&T Thread

5 Must-Have Features for Your Brain Training Program

5 Must-Have Features for Your Brain Training Program

New Year’s Day is a sacred self-proclaimed starting date for healthier habits. And this year, you have decided your brain health matters. Brain health drives our ability to concentrate, problem-solve, and be creative. It is an important, but often overlooked, component of success. The brain fitness industry is a fast growing business, and new brain training programs appear every day, either online or on smartphones. They claim to improve your brain health, but how many of them really work?

Here are 5 features you should consider before purchasing your next brain training program:

1. Scientifically validated – Although there are many brain training programs available, very few actually have research to back up their claims. Most brain games companies claim that their games are “based on science”, which is a very elusive and misleading marketing term. You should always check that the app has a solid scientific validation and has been validated in peer-reviewed scientific research.

2. Capture your unique cognitive profile – Research shows that to provide you with an effective brain fitness program, the brain training regimen needs to be personalized to match your unique cognitive needs. Unlike physical activity, you cannot discern on your own what you want to improve. Consequently, your brain fitness program must start with a baseline assessment of your unique cognitive profile before your training even begins. Training without a prior assessment is ineffective.

3. Personalize your training regimen – Using your assessment and your ongoing performance, the program should be designed to build the optimal brain training regimen that matches your unique cognitive needs. Some programs lacking assessments claim they are “personalized”, but this generally refers to the fact that your training sessions will include your most highly rated games. Such “personalization” is not effective because people tend to highly rate games that are easy for them, so they naturally avoid the most challenging brain games.

4. Adapt the regimen to your goals – Some programs will allow you to choose your level of difficulty level as you go. However, you will have much better results if you use a brain-training program that comes with an independent and objective assessment of your performance level which indicates that you are ready for more challenging tasks.

5. Provide a comprehensive workout – Since you need your brain training program to tell you what skills need to be improved, make sure the brain fitness program includes a wide range of cognitive skills that you use daily such as memory, attention, perception, and coordination.

Now you can challenge your friends and play CogniFit brain games together in real-time

Now you can challenge your friends and play CogniFit brain games together in real-time

It is well known that higher social engagement is associated with higher cognitive functioning and reduced risks of cognitive decline. When you use the CogniFit personalized brain training program, you enjoy fun and addictive video games while you are actually training your brain with scientifically validated exercises.

CogniFit just got even more fun as now you can challenge your friends and play brain games with them in real-time. Challenge your friends now either via the CogniFit Challenges Facebook app or directly in CogniFit games. Your friends’ brain will thank you!

5 Things that can Benefit the Brain

5 Things That Can Benefit the Brain

5 Things that can Benefit the Brain

Are you looking for ways to increase brain activity? Perhaps your brain does not perform as well as it used to, and you are looking to improve your brain. In my previous post, we discussed things that can be potentially harmful for the brain. Now, we are going to delve into things that can be beneficial for our brain health. Some of these things are fairly obvious, and some of these things you would not expect. Here are five things that can benefit the brain.

1. Sleep: Despite the fact that many people know that having a good night’s rest is beneficial to their health, they still do not get the proper rest they need. Many experts say that we all should get at least eight hours of sleep every night. Of course there are many external factors beyond our control that prevent us from getting a good night’s sleep, but it is essential for your brain and your overall well-being that you get some sleep. Some of the many benefits of sleep include: improved memory, sharpened attention, less stress and it has shown improved grades for students.

2. Have a Positive Attitude: Being optimistic gives you the ability to enjoy life and what it has to offer for you. It makes you more likeable and approachable towards others, and it does wonders for the brain. When tackling something new, showing a positive and ambitious attitude has been shown to make learning easier. The more we learn, the more our brains are strengthened.

3. Listen to Music: Research has been shown that listening to music can be very helpful for our brains. Music is a universal language that touches all cultures and ages. Some benefits of listening to music include: reduced depression and anxiety, less stress, makes us happier and it improves our verbal and visual skills. It has also been known to help spawn creativity, and can even make your immune system stronger! Lastly, it can make an aging brain healthier.

4. Meditation: Meditation is another thing has been shown to benefit the brain. For example, meditation can help the mind get faster and stronger. How? By establishing connections between neurons, brain cells. Long-term meditation also leads to increased gray matter. Gray matter includes the part of the brain that controls muscles and sensory perception. Much of the oxygen the brain takes in, a majority of it goes into the gray matter.

5. Brain Games: Brain games are games that can help assess and train your brain and cognition. While there are countless brain companies on the market, a majority of them are not scientifically validated. Leveraging the latest research in neuroplasticity, CogniFit develops specific brain training programs and mind exercises. You can access a large number of brain games and select different training exercises that fit your unique cognitive needs. Help your brain and start the CogniFit personalized brain fitness program today!

5 Things That Can Hurt the Brain

5 Things That Can Hurt the Brain

5 Things That Can Hurt the Brain

The brain is a vital organ that must be kept in the best shape. In my previous blog post, I briefly touched upon certain brain myths. In this post, I am going to write about things that can severely hinder your brain. Some of the things are internal, and one can easily rectify them. However, there are some external factors beyond our control that can damage our brains. Without further ado here are 5 things that can hurt the brain.

1. Alcohol and Cigarettes: Delayed reaction time, memory problems and slurred speech are some of ways the brain can be impaired. However, many of these symptoms are temporary, and they go away pretty quickly. On the other hand, people who are heavy drinkers are more vulnerable to brain damage. The most common consequence of heavy alcohol use is liver disease. People who smoke cigarettes are more likely to get a stroke. A stroke occurs when blood flow to a certain part of the brain stops. CogniFit offers a specific brain training program designed to reduce the effects of cognitive decline following a stroke.

2. Lack of Sleep: Doctors generally recommend we get around eight hours of sleep each night. When we are sleeping, our bodies repair and new cells are created. When people don’t get a proper night’s sleep, their cells are not being regenerated and communication with the brain decreases. Both long-term sleep deprivation and short-term sleep deprivation have severe consequences on the brain.

3. Lack of Physical Activity: Many people have sedentary lifestyles, and this is detrimental to their health and well-being. In fact, this type of lifestyle is one of the leading causes of preventable death worldwide. A lack of exercise can lead to chronic diseases, and has been linked to the obesity epidemic in the United States. Some ways a sedentary lifestyle can affect our health include: high blood pressure, diabetes, colon cancer and osteoporosis.

4. Not Having Breakfast: They say Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Is it true? Yes. Not having breakfast every morning can affect the amount of blood sugar you have in your body. The amount of vital nutrients in your body decreases when you skip breakfast. Make sure you have vitamins every morning, and have foods that contain a good amount of protein. Also, try to eat the best foods and nutrition for a healthy brain.

5. Low Mental Stimulation: Technically, the brain is a muscle. With that said, the brain needs to be exercised in order for it to be in the best shape. One way to increase brain stimulation is to play brain games. However, please make sure the brain games you play are scientifically validated. CogniFit’s brain games are scientifically proven to enhance your brain.

Choose the playing level of your brain exercises.

Choose the playing level of your brain exercises.

Following a large amount of requests, we are happy to announce today that you can choose to play at different levels directly from the instructions screen of any of the CogniFit brain games.

This option will appear only in the play mode and will not impact your training results. Your training difficulty will always be automatically adjusted to your current cognitive level but if you want to try for fun to see the different brain exercises at different levels, you can now do it!

This option is particularly useful when you want to challenge someone. By choosing the best level of challenge for you, you can make sure that the playing field is be ideal for you!

Enjoy your brain training and check today how you perform at different levels. Some of them are particularly challenging!

CogniFit Brain Planning application

CogniFit Brain Planning application.

The CogniFit team is very happy to announce the release of a new application, Brain Planning.

The Brain Planning application includes three new brain games, “Perfect Tension”, “Slice and Drop” and “Fresh Squeeze”.

Planning or the ability to “think ahead” requires strong cognitive skills, creativity and cognitive energy. The new Brain Planning tasks have been specifically developed to train those important abilities.

Enjoy it!

CogniFit Launches Its New Brain Fitness iPad App

We have the pleasure to announce today the release of our newly developed brain fitness iPad app.

Specifically designed for the iPad, you will find that assessing and training your cognitive skills on your tablet device is truly a defining experience. It is a new way to continue your training wherever you are and enjoy the pleasure of using your fingers to do your brain training.

You can find more information on the new Brain Fitness iPad app or download it directly on the iTunes store by clicking here.

CogniFit Brain Training Mental Number Application

The CogniFit Mental Numbers Application offers you several exciting tasks to challenge your brain with and develop a wide range of cognitive abilities such as your focus, planning, working memory and visual short-term memory. Having the capacity to easily play in your mind with numbers is a key skill that you want to possess. We are constantly surrounded with numbers and calculations in our daily life. This application offers you a fun and easy way of becoming faster in mental math while training many basic cognitive skills needed for many other tasks in your daily life.

CogniFit adds new brain fitness tasks to its cognitive platform to train focus and planning abilities

We have the pleasure to announces today the release of additional free tasks to its cognitive training platform. The “Twist It” and “Neuron Madness” tasks have been specially designed to train cognitive skills such as focus and planning.

Focus, the ability to sort different visual and auditory stimuli so as to prioritize actions, often requires ignoring certain irrelevant information in order to successfully allocate attention to another. This ability is developed through the years and can be trained over time.

Planning, on the other hand, is the ability to “think ahead”, to mentally anticipate the correct way to execute a task. This cognitive ability involves selecting the activities required to achieve a goal, deciding on their appropriate order and creating a plan.

Gutxi Haitz, Cognitive Tasks Design Manager at CogniFit, explains: “These new brain games have been developed so CogniFit can continue offering the most complete and exhaustive brain training to its users. CogniFit continuously add new tasks to its brain fitness platform to respond to the growing demand of users for useful, effective and diverse brain training tasks. ”

Researchers have shown that the training of cognitive abilities can bring important benefits to the trainees for a large range of needs which may, in turn, be influential in improving quality of life. For example, when setting up the day’s schedule, individuals must consider the tasks that need to be done, where they must go, task priorities and the time required to complete each task.

Training planning can help individuals go through those processes more efficiently. Planning demands creativity which activates the brain and helps to maintain cognitive resources. It can also reduce cognitive decline that can result in lost time and energy.

Decreased planning ability will make things difficult when, for example, people arrange a gathering that involves sending invitations, making phone calls and buying food.

The new tasks are immediately available and free to use on the CogniFit website.

Another great review of our iPhone app

Another great review of our iPhone app