Tag Archives: Games

Brain Games Don’t Improve Memory or Cognition

Benjamin Radfordby Benjamin Radford via Discovery News

We’ve all seen the ads, banners, commercials and books hyping the benefits of “brain training,” offering games and puzzles that promise to keep your brain in tip-top shape as you age. Diseases such as dementia are terrifying, and millions of people do their best to stave it off though online games, crossword puzzles and so on.

brain game Mental-Fitness_225pxAs a recent Scientific American column noted, “cognitive training — better known as ‘brain training’ — is one of the hottest new trends in self improvement. Lumosity, which offers web-based tasks designed to improve cognitive abilities such as memory and attention, boasts 50 million subscribers and advertises on National Public Radio. Cogmed claims to be ‘a computer-based solution for attention problems caused by poor working memory,’ and BrainHQ will help you ‘make the most of your unique brain.’” It all sounds very impressive and scientific.

While it’s important to stay both mentally and physically active in our later years, there’s little evidence that most of the commercially-sold brain enhancement methods or pills do any good. In fact the scientific community pours cold water on these fanciful myths.

In late October the Stanford Center on Longevity and the Berlin Max Planck Institute for Human Development gathered many of the world’s leading cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists to examine these brain games and programs. It then issued a statement that read in part:

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Tetrahedron Optical Illusion

By via Mighty Optical Illusions

Many people have a hard time grasping what the meaning behind an optical illusion really is. I am no exception to the rule although I try my best to decipher the true meaning behind these works of art! Depending on the illusion, I can sit there for what seems like forever and never really get to the bottom of it. This Tetrahedron wasn’t any different for me. After looking at it for a little while, I still couldn’t quite grasp what the whole point of it was. It only appeared to be a spinning triangle that boasted a variety of colors in the image itself.
Tetrahedron
You tell me. What did you get out of this animated gif? Am I totally missing something in this simplistic piece of art? Did you notice how the color changes as the Tetrahedron spins around? The way the light reflects through the image is pretty cool and not something I would have ever thought of on my own. In reality, this thing is so simple that it shouldn’t be as intriguing as it is. Yet, I find myself sitting here and staring at the thing as it rotates round and round changing color along the way.

From green to brown to green to brown, the color changing technology in this Tetrahedron is something that you have to watch and observe to gain a full understanding of the illusion. Even though it looks like a triangle to me, that doesn’t mean you are going to think the same thing. Everyone has their own opinion on what optical illusions are cool and which ones they find boring or uninteresting.  Take the time to explore this rotating shape and see what you get out of it. Maybe you will see something that I didn’t, but for me, it really was something simple and amazing all at the same time.


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▶ Honda Illusions, An Impossible Made Possible

If you know me, you’ll know why i love this video – i love optical illusions. Check it out.

MIB


Via HondaVideo – YouTube.


Here is how they created these effects:

When The Lights Were Out

From the good folks over at Mighty Optical Illusions. They always have fun and interesting stuff.

By via Mighty Optical Illusions

As it always goes with Rob Gonsalves, transitions he makes can be tricky to “digest” at first. Once again I invite you all to try and spot the logical “tipping” point, a postion where one motif ends and another one begins. Rob’s transformations are unique at very least. For more similar stuff be sure to check this tag.

When-The-Lights-Were-Out-by-Rob-Gonsalves

Circling Dots Optical Illusion

By via Mighty Optical Illusions

Here’s an excellent “wavy” animation discovered by Till Hartmann. It’s a great illustration of a collective phenomena. When you observe closely, each dot travels along a regular circle-path. Since most of the circles are mutually out of phase, they form illusive waves floating steadily across the screen. Things like this happen all over the place; just take water or sound waves for example. They work in basically the same way – the small back-and-forth motions of individual molecules lead to compression larger-scale patterns moving throughout the medium.

It’s a simple demonstration of how large-scale, collective phenomena can emerge from very simple small-scale behaviour.

dots illusion

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via Mighty Optical Illusions

Tetris Optical Illusion

By via Mighty Optical Illusions

Can you make sense of those strange tetris-like symbols filling the screen? They hide more than meets the eye. Those of you staying updated via “Optical Illusion of The Day” widgets, have a slight advantage in solving the “mystery”. After you’re finished with this one, make sure you haven’t missed this, this, this, this and this!

BetThisIllusion

Ouija board

Ouija 900 02
Via The Skeptic’s Dictionary

In a nutshell: A Ouija board is used in a game where people ask questions and hope a ghost will move their hands to find the answer.

A Ouija board is a game board with letters, numbers, and the words “yes,” “no,” and “goodbye” printed on it. A 3-legged device with a hole in the middle or a pointer of some sort (called a planchette) is placed on the board. Players put their fingers on the pointer and ask questions that have yes or no answers, or that can be answered with numbers or words spelled out by letters.

There are several weird things about this game. The players don’t ask each other questions. They ask ghosts to join them and answer their questions. The pointer moves under their fingers. The players feel sure they are not moving it.

Try it. It works!

ouija_board_200pxHow does it work? Do ghosts really join in board games? Are ghosts moving the pointer? It might seem so, but when players are blindfolded and the board is turned so the top faces the bottom (without the players knowing it), something weird happens. The pointer moves and stops where “yes” and “no” would be if the board was top side up. Without being able to see the words, letters, and numbers on the board, the players move the pointer to places that make no sense. This seems to tell us that the players are moving the pointer to where they think “yes” and “no” (or letters and numbers) are.

Is it possible to move something and not know you’re moving it? Yes. Many scientific experiments have shown that people are unaware of slight movements they make. (Scientists call this the ideomotor effect. See the entries on dowsing and Clever Hans for other examples of moving without being aware of it.)

But what about the answers? Where do they come from? Do ghosts move the fingers of the players? Maybe, but it seems more likely that the answers are coming from the players themselves. Again, if the answers were coming from ghosts, you’d think that it wouldn’t matter whether the players were blindfolded. But it does. When blindfolded, Ouija players’ answers don’t make any sense.

Is it possible for the players to be coming up with answers to their own questions without their being aware of it? Yes. Again, many scientific studies have shown that much of our thinking goes on without our being aware of it. The unconscious (or subconscious) is what scientists call that part of the mind that thinks without our being aware of it.

ouija 854_200pxEven though the Ouija board is a game, many people take it very seriously. Sometimes players give answers that are scary and frighten them. They don’t want to believe that scary answers are coming from their own unconscious thoughts. They might think evil spirits are lurking about the room. One person I know was playing with a Ouija board with her teenage friends many years ago. She asked how old she would be when she died. She and her friends moved the pointer to a 6 and then a 2. She took this to mean that she would die at age 62. “How will I die?” she asked. The fingers moved the pointer to the letter “B.” She took this to mean she’d die of a bee sting. She’s 66 now, but she’s still afraid of bees.

The Ouija board can be fun, if you know what’s really going on. If you think ghosts are listening to your questions, you would probably be better off playing something like Monopoly.

via The Skeptic’s Dictionary – Mysteries and Science: Exploring Aliens, Ghosts, Monsters, the end of the world, and other weird things.

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