Topic:The Promise of Brain Training Games.
Abstract: Imagine if you could see better, hear better, have improved memory, and even become more intelligent through simple training done on your own computer, smartphone, or tablet. Just as physical fitness underwent a revolution in the 20th century, brain fitness is being transformed through innovations in psychology, neuroscience and computer science. This talk discusses recent research that begins to unlock this potential in the context of training vision and how similar principles may be applied to yield more effective working memory training. I discuss the substantial potential of the field and also current limitations and the potential paths to overcoming these limitations through on-going research.
This presentation will be followed by a challenge from professor Monica Melby-Lervåg from the UiO Department of Special Needs Education, titled “Working Memory Training Does Not Improve Performance on Measures of Intelligence or Other Measures of “Far Transfer”: Evidence from a Meta-Analytic Review”.
Abstract: Brain training programs based on game-like computer exercises have received much attention the last ten years both in media and research. One type of such programs aim to train working memory. Based on a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of these programs, including 125 different experiments, we have concluded that working memory training programs appear to produce short-term, specific training effects that do not generalize to measures of “real-world” cognitive skills. These results question the practical and theoretical importance of current computerized training programs targeting working memory skills.
The event will conclude with a discussion about the evidence and potential for the effects of computerized working memory training to transfer to real life situations.
About Professor Aaron Seitz:
Professor Aaron Seitz is an internationally recognized expert on the mechanisms of learning and memory using behavioral, computational and neuroscientific methodologies. His research over the last 15 years has focused on mechanisms of plasticity and learning in the sensory/perceptual systems. A key aspect of his recent research is applying knowledge of plasticity mechanisms in the brain to create brain-training video games that are effective in improving performance in real-world tasks. A notable example is his vision training game ULTIMEYES that leads to vision improvement that positively transfers to sports and reading. He is now the Director of the newly founded UCR Brain Game Center for Mental Fitness and Well-being that has the mission to research, test, and disseminate game software instrumented with expert knowledge to optimize human brain processes with an aim to make scientifically principled brain games that translate to performance in real-life activities.
His web site is at http://faculty.ucr.edu/~aseitz/