A Month on DS Brain Age

Sorry for the lack of updates. Still working on that elusive web project (it’s a social network, hilarity will ensue when I finally release it but I just have to get it out of my system). So I’ve spent the month playing Brain Age where the weird and wacky Professor Kawashima laughs “hooo hooo ha” or something else that convinces you he’s a real nut case.

Pretty much unlocked all the hidden training games and tips that come from collecting your stamps every day. I’m consistently getting 20 years old for my brain age which is the be best possible score ( I can also select which 3 tests to take so that makes a difference).

Do I feel any smarter? Not really. How can doing simple arithmetic and other such stuff make you feel smarter? Do I feel it’s worthless? No. I like to think of it as brushing my teeth. Brushing your teeth in the short-term wont really do a whole lot for you aside from giving your mouth a fresh, minty feel. However, over the long term it will help prevent you from losing your teeth. Brain Age is just that kind of “maintenance” program.

One of the shocking things about Brain Age was how rusty you feel when starting out on the program. Regardless of whether you think you’re intelligent or not computers have really dumbed us down more than we think. Sure, it frees us from the boring and mundane tasks but in the process it also eliminates the boring stuff that just might hold the key to stimulating our brain (like really reading, writing and arithmetic). It must be something about the keyboard and monitor that short circuits our brain in some ways. After all Prof. Kawashima’s game is actually backed by his peer-reviewed academic studies that are becoming a growing body of knowledge supporting his theories.

Playing Brain Age all day and every day wont help you discover the next big idea in physics or mathematics nor will it make you a genius. It may stave off mental decline over the years but you wont get any benefits until you actually “apply” that brain power.

It does seem to help me hold more information in my head as I juggle information and also with concentration. As adults I think more and more parts of our brain go on autopilot no matter how much we think we’re using our brains. Also our ability to hold or juggle bits of information in our brain as we do something must also be affected. It’s probably similar to how you need to exercise more or eat less than when you were in the teens to maintain the same weight, yet the results can only be characterized as “hanging on”.

I’ve still got a long way to go before I break the elusive 1 minute barrier to 100 calculations so that’ll keep me busy but now I can safely use it for maintenance more or less. It does seem to help me a bit while I’m programming stuff though and maybe a little with concentration in general.