Sunday, January 28, 2007

Braintrainer

Another computer-based cognitive exercise program on the market is Advanced Brain Technologies' "Braintrainer".

I purchased this program on CD-Rom in 2004 for around $50US, which is relatively expensive compared with some other programs such as "Mybraintrainer". However, the company has responded by releasing an online version that is available for one months subscription at $8US.

The program consisits of a warm-up exercise, which tests impulsivity and reaction speed, followed by a multi-level working memory test in which the user is required to recall a sucession of digits in forward or reverse order. This is basically just a more elaborate version of the digit span tests used in IQ testing. However, the developers of the software claim there is scientific evidence that digit span is related to academic and professional aptitute.

According to the accompanying literature, the average digit span is around 7 digits but higher levels are associated with increased academic achievement.

Although Brainbuilder is relatively simple to use, the higher levels are very challanging and one reviewer has referred to it as a brain training "boot camp". Since Braintrainer basically consists of just one main exercise, it becomes very boring after extended use and it is difficult to stay motivated.The CD-ROM also comes which annoying music and sound effects, which add to the frustration when you slide back down a level.

As yet, I don't think the program has any significant cognitive effects, although it is of use in getting my mind going in the morning and in is respect probably works better than some other programs like Mindscape's Braintrainer. I haven't tried the online version, which may be more effective since it uses letters as well as digits, and has an additional warm up exercise.

Overall, I don't think Brainbuilder alone will have a significant effect on ADD symptoms although it may be of use whem combined with other mental exercises, which is how I intend to use it in the future.

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