Project - Brain Workshop

Press the spacebar, and the level that's about to start appears, most likely called Dual 2-Back. Here you can alter the game mode if you know what you're doing. Press the spacebar a second time, and the level actually starts.

Now strap yourself in, because this game is much more grueling than it first appears. Assuming you have the game set to its defaults, two stimuli will be coming at you: positions and audio. The former appears in the guise of a blue square, appearing randomly in any of the nine squares. The latter takes place as letters, spoken out loud by a female voice that just happens to sound like the one used on almost all computer systems in every futuristic sci-fi movie ever made.

As this is happening, you control the game with only two keys: A and L. Let go of the mouse, and let your left hand rest on A and your right hand on L. Now, I'll explain how the game actually works.

Each level has a series of three-second Trials. The first Trial will have the square appear in one of the boxes in tandem with a spoken letter. The second Trial will have the square in another box with another spoken letter. These first two Trials don't require you to do anything, but instead provide the information for the following Trials.

Given this default mode is “2-Back”, the information provided in the first Trial is the basis for testing against in the third Trial. The information in the second Trial is for testing against the fourth, and so on. Now, let's examine the third Trial and onward, where the actual game begins.

Was the position of the blue block the same as the first Trial? If so, press the A key. Was the letter the same? If so, press L. Each Trial may have a combination of both position and letter, or just the one, or even no matches.

As you can see, this game mode is all about remembering what happened two Trials ago. This sounds easy, but each stimulus acts independently of the other, so most of the time, the letter and position won't land in the same place. This means your memory has to split in two different directions—multitasking in memory. Does that sound tricky? Believe me, it is. I'd even go so far as to call it intense.

Chances are you'll get a bad score, but that's okay. The manual recommends starting with a game of 1-Back, but I thought I'd start you off with the harder mode because I'm mean like that! If you want to alter the difficulty, prior to starting a level is a list of options at the top left where you can increase/decrease the N-Back number (try 1 for instance), the number of trials, change the speed and so on.

That's all I have space for here, but if you want more information, check out the game's documentation available at the main menu. I recommend looking into the game's more-advanced features, such as color and image testing, arithmetic and more.

All in all, this is one of the most grueling brain exercises I've come across, and anyone looking to improve specific areas of memory definitely should try Brain Workshop.

Find out more at brainworkshop.sourceforge.net

______________________

John Knight is the New Projects columnist for Linux Journal.

Comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

great app

Anonymous's picture

I have used Brain Workshop off and on for the last 2 years. While I don't know if it has improved my intelligence, it certainly has improved my ability to focus. My overall memory is much better and I am also able to think through complex issues more clearly than before.

Regarding the previous comment that "it sounds like torture": it is challenging, but that's the whole point! Read the n-back study by Jaggi (sp?) et al, very interesting.

Note: I have no affiliation with Brain Workshop whatsoever.

This sounds a bit like mental

Anonymous's picture

This sounds a bit like mental torture to me :P

White Paper
Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI

Linux has become a key foundation for supporting today's rapidly growing IT environments. Linux is being used to deploy business applications and databases, trading on its reputation as a low-cost operating environment. For many IT organizations, Linux is a mainstay for deploying Web servers and has evolved from handling basic file, print, and utility workloads to running mission-critical applications and databases, physically, virtually, and in the cloud. As Linux grows in importance in terms of value to the business, managing Linux environments to high standards of service quality — availability, security, and performance — becomes an essential requirement for business success.

Learn More

Sponsored by Red Hat

White Paper
Private PaaS for the Agile Enterprise

If you already use virtualized infrastructure, you are well on your way to leveraging the power of the cloud. Virtualization offers the promise of limitless resources, but how do you manage that scalability when your DevOps team doesn’t scale? In today’s hypercompetitive markets, fast results can make a difference between leading the pack vs. obsolescence. Organizations need more benefits from cloud computing than just raw resources. They need agility, flexibility, convenience, ROI, and control.

Stackato private Platform-as-a-Service technology from ActiveState extends your private cloud infrastructure by creating a private PaaS to provide on-demand availability, flexibility, control, and ultimately, faster time-to-market for your enterprise.

Learn More

Sponsored by ActiveState