A forthcoming feature for one of our sister publications, Chief Learning Officer, says “brain plasticity” means human intelligence always is a work in progress. The article, written by Donalee Markus, Ph.D., and Lindsey Paige Markus, J.D., states: “We do not have to lose our mental faculties as we grow older. Just as physical exercise can keep our bodies strong and healthy well into our senior years, mental exercises contribute to the preservation and vitality of our brains.”
The idea of “mental exercise” might seem strange. Brains can be used, developed, challenged, etc., but can they really be made to work out? Mental calisthenics? (Think, 2, 3, 4! Think, 2, 3, 4!).
Apparently so. One of the hottest video games released this year is “Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!” for the recently released Nintendo DS Lite. The handheld DS Lite comes equipped with a microphone, supports a WiFi connection and has two screens, one of which is touch interactive.
“Brain Age” makes full use of this expanded functionality — users hold the console on its side, either left or right, and write or say their answers for a variety of brain-training activities. These tests determine the user’s “brain age,” and analyses of further mental exercises bring the user’s brain age up or down. You want to go down toward the lowest possible score — 20 years old — the healthiest a mind can get, at least in the context of the game.…
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