Time to buff up your brain, to send your synapses to the spa. How about a couple of hours of sudoku? No? Well, fire up your Nintendo DS and pump up your neurons with Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training games – “Keep your brain sharp and in shape.”
“These games definitely work because you get better at playing them,” says Earl Miller, professor of neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “The big question is: do these skills generalise to normal everyday thoughts? That hasn’t been studied.”
But don’t despair: Susanne Jaeggi, a psychologist at the University of Michigan, may be able to help. She has devised a brain-training game that actually works. It’s a strange, complex game involving sequences of squares on a computer screen, and it definitely improves “fluid intelligence” – the part of your mind that deals directly with the raw newness of experience or, as defined by Jaeggi, “the ability to reason and to solve new problems independently of previously acquired knowledge”.
Photo by PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE.