Should I hide the correct answer indicators?

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Confuzedd

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Dec 26, 2008, 1:33:26 PM12/26/08
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The two statements at the bottom, position and sound match that lights
up green or red when you answer, should you hide that area so you're
not sure how your doing? I think it's harder if that area isn't
showing.

exigentsky

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Dec 27, 2008, 1:43:38 AM12/27/08
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I've been wondering the same thing. Some other programs do have them
hidden. What was done in the original study?

polar

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Dec 27, 2008, 7:25:43 AM12/27/08
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I didnt find in the original study any note about whether the
participant knew they made a correct answer. Interesting question is,
whether this can make a change. because on one side it prevents
pressure and perfectionism :), but on the other hand you learn more
when you have evaluation.

Martin Syk

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Dec 27, 2008, 2:36:24 PM12/27/08
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I think it is vital to receive feedback. With the provided feedback
the brain can adjust and calibrate the memory processes which is what
we want!
Specific and instant feedback is the key to sucessful and powerful
learning.

Confuzedd

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Dec 27, 2008, 4:50:48 PM12/27/08
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hmm okay then, that makes sense. I did worst when I had the answer
indicators hidden.

biped

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Dec 28, 2008, 7:58:28 PM12/28/08
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On Dec 27, 11:36 am, Martin Syk <mar...@syk.se> wrote:
> I think it is vital to receive feedback. With the provided feedback
> the brain can adjust and calibrate the memory processes which is what
> we want!
> Specific and instant feedback is the key to sucessful and powerful
> learning.
>

I have the feedback disabled, and I have been improving, so it is
definitely not required in order to make progress. I find the feedback
very distracting, and for me, maintaining perfect attention is the
most difficult aspect of dual n-back (I use only novice mode) without
strategies. I am also usually pretty well aware of how I'm doing
without needing any feedback. I usually know whether my last choice
was almost certainly correct or if there was some uncertainty or it
was a wild guess.

That's my $.02...

Martin Syk

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Dec 29, 2008, 12:30:28 PM12/29/08
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It is impossible to be aware of everything that goes on the mind, so
even if you think you know whether you guessed, slipped or actually
knew there is a gap to what really goes on in there. We might not even
know that we're employing a strategy etc. I never said it is
impossible to learn without indicators, but I think it helps us (and
there's science on the benefit of reinforcement to back that up).

Imagin trying to improve on the task without knowing the result of
your rounds. This is reinforcement on another level but it still
compares to indicators according to me.

I agree it may be distracting with indicators but I think we can
improve on this too.
Martin

biped

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Dec 29, 2008, 3:41:02 PM12/29/08
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On Dec 29, 9:30 am, Martin Syk <mar...@syk.se> wrote:
> It is impossible to be aware of everything that goes on the mind, so
> even if you think you know whether you guessed, slipped or actually
> knew there is a gap to what really goes on in there. We might not even
> know that we're employing a strategy etc. I never said it is
> impossible to learn without indicators, but I think it helps us (and
> there's science on the benefit of reinforcement to back that up).

I realize we can't be aware of everything going on, which is why I
said "usually pretty well aware", with appropriate weasel words. I am
sure there is lots going on that we're not aware of, including
strategies that we are unaware of. I mentioned not using strategies,
meaning intentional and conscious strategies like mentally traversing
the last n positions and mentally repeating the last n sounds, because
I think immediate feedback is much more helpful when you do use such
strategies. When you use such a strategy, immediate feedback lets you
know if you are "off by one" in your mental rehearsal, and you can
immediately recover by shifting one position mentally. When you don't
use any intentional, conscious strategy like that, feedback is not
nearly so helpful, since you don't tend to get "off by one" and then
give a string of "wrong by one" answers.

The point I was trying to make is that I don't think feedback from the
app is "vital", as you said, at least not for everybody. It wasn't the
case for me initially, since I actually did better and improved more
when I turned off the indicators. While doing the tasks, it feels like
there is a fair amount of metacognition going on involving internal
monitoring of how effectively I am doing, how certain I am of the
answer, and how well my memory is working. This provides a form of
internal feedback, and this internal, real-time feedback occurs with
or without feedback from the app. Perhaps improvement is ultimately
faster when indicators are enabled, after getting over the initial
distraction, and perhaps I didn't try it for long enough with the
indicators enabled. At some point, I'll try enabling them again for a
while, when I am willing to drop a level or two and persist for a
while to see if I ultimately recover and improve more quickly. Perhaps
my progress will be better with them enabled now that I have more
experience.

Has anybody in the group experimented for a long period of time with
and without the indicators (i.e., not switching between them
frequently, but doing a long period with them enabled and a long
period with them disabled)?

> Imagin trying to improve on the task without knowing the result of
> your rounds. This is reinforcement on another level but it still
> compares to indicators according to me.

I agree it would be more difficult without feedback at the end. Even
though I know when I "definitely passed" and "definitely failed",
there are still plenty of times that I'm uncertain. The internal
feedback still occurs though, and it would still occur for me if the
app just looped forever without ever finishing a round. I think I
would still make good progress.
Message has been deleted

morphated

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Jan 16, 2009, 4:03:45 AM1/16/09
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I think most of you are misunderstanding the relevance of this
"feedback" to our training. The point of practicing dual n-back is
_not_ to get better at performing dual n-back. This is a very subtle
point and one I think most people miss. Practicing dual n-back causes,
for whatever reason, changes in our brain that increase problem
solving ability, or IQ. We can't yet pretend to know what mechanism
mediates this result; we can only speculate. Receiving feedback of the
sort that says "You got the answer right" is not the same as receiving
a _reward_ that will enhance learning. We now know that BrainTwister
(the same program used in the Jaeggi study) does not include the
feedback employed by the soakyourhead.com and Brain Workshop versions
(see a recent thread for confirmation of this). The main point I want
to make is that such feedback (as others have said) makes dual n-back
easier, since it lets you know you're "on track" whenever you get an
answer correct, which in effect may make it possible for one to pay
less attention to the task. Again, the point is not to make the task
easy - this is probably the last thing you want. Similarly, to build
larger biceps, would you make the weights lighter? No.
The safest way to practice dual n-back is to use the exact same setup
as was used in the Jaeggi study. Any other method could detract from
your gains.

biped

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Jan 16, 2009, 2:40:33 PM1/16/09
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I completely agree. Another reason I think "no feedback" is better is
that it allows you to sustain a much more focused attention. If, as
many believe, the common capacity constraint between WM and Gf exists
due to their common reliance on attentional control processes, as the
original paper discusses, then improving and strengthening attentional
control could be as important or more as any memory improvements
themselves. Having feedback enabled improves the ability to not be
distracted, but I think that's much less valuable than being able to
go into a state of maximal concentration and stay there for the entire
duration of a trial.

I also agree about following the protocol as closely as possible. At
this point, I have configured BW to be as close to possible as the
paper setup. The only significant difference is the presence of grid
lines in BW that are not there in BT.

Martin Syk

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Jan 18, 2009, 8:05:58 AM1/18/09
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Following the paper, do you also stop training after 30 days?

I agree on the role of attention in gf/wm tasks.
My opinion is that there is no better way to evaluate if your
attention was tuned in or not, than direct feedback on every
presentation.

biped

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Jan 18, 2009, 1:28:33 PM1/18/09
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On Jan 18, 5:05 am, Martin Syk <mar...@syk.se> wrote:
> Following the paper, do you also stop training after 30 days?

I'm sure that's a rhetorical question, but to be clear, nobody has
recommended stopping after 30 days (the paper went 19 days max,
probably because that's what they had funding for). In fact, in the
video I referred to in another thread, they said it is likely that
training must be continued indefinitely to maintain the benefits.

> I agree on the role of attention in gf/wm tasks.
> My opinion is that there is no better way to evaluate if your
> attention was tuned in or not, than direct feedback on every
> presentation.

I think the distraction of feedback, and the slower improvement in
sustaining maximal focus, more than outweigh any benefit due to
getting immediate feedback. They designed the experiment to not
provide feedback after each trial for this very reason. Did you see
the other thread where I quoted Dr. Jaeggi saying that "we decided
that we wanted people to fully and maximally concentrate on the task
itself and thus chose the approach to only give feedback at the end of
the run"? http://groups.google.com/group/brain-training/browse_thread/thread/955524caaf2e9001

Getting feedback after each trial tells you whether you got it right
or not, but it doesn't directly tell you anything about your
attention, since you may have guessed or you might have had an
especially easy sequence like "sqsqsqsq". What will tell you in these
cases whether you were tuned in or not is how certain you were of your
answer before you got feedback. You can rely on this metacognitive
awareness of WM and how certain you are at other times too, and I
think improving that ability is extremely useful and that it improves
quicker when you can sustain maximal focus for as long as possible.

You may be right, and they may not have made the best choice in not
providing feedback after every trial. At this point, we don't have
enough information to know for sure, but I think the safe bet is to
follow the PNAS protocol as closely as possible, since we know that is
effective (assuming suitable confirmation studies later).

Anyway, if feedback works better for you and you get transfer benefits
from doing it that way, great. Whatever works.... For people who can't
decide which is better from their own experience, I'd recommend that
they default to what they did in the original paper if they want to
maximize the chance that they will reap the benefits shown in the PNAS
study.

Martin Syk

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Jan 18, 2009, 6:37:14 PM1/18/09
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I agree with what you're saying and you're right about style of
learning as something important.
For this specific program/task we can only guess, until they've been
scientifically compared.

I think you're on to something about the meta-cognitive aspect. My
standpoint is that since I don't know what goes on in my brain the
feedback may distract me on a conscious level, but it may also, on a
conscious and unconscious level, help me to correct and improve the
skill of attention. It becomes a reminder to refocus and it elucidates
more precisely when and how I lose focus.




On 18 Jan, 10:28, biped <biped.prim...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Jan 18, 5:05 am, Martin Syk <mar...@syk.se> wrote:
>
> > Following the paper, do you also stop training after 30 days?
>
> I'm sure that's a rhetorical question, but to be clear, nobody has
> recommended stopping after 30 days (the paper went 19 days max,
> probably because that's what they had funding for). In fact, in the
> video I referred to in another thread, they said it is likely that
> training must be continued indefinitely to maintain the benefits.
>
> > I agree on the role of attention in gf/wm tasks.
> > My opinion is that there is no better way to evaluate if your
> > attention was tuned in or not, than direct feedback on every
> > presentation.
>
> I think the distraction of feedback, and the slower improvement in
> sustaining maximal focus, more than outweigh any benefit due to
> getting immediate feedback. They designed the experiment to not
> provide feedback after each trial for this very reason. Did you see
> the other thread where I quoted Dr. Jaeggi saying that "we decided
> that we wanted people to fully and maximally concentrate on the task
> itself and thus chose the approach to only give feedback at the end of
> the run"?http://groups.google.com/group/brain-training/browse_thread/thread/95...

biped

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Jan 18, 2009, 7:26:11 PM1/18/09
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On Jan 18, 3:37 pm, Martin Syk <mar...@syk.se> wrote:
> I agree with what you're saying and you're right about style of
> learning as something important.
> For this specific program/task we can only guess, until they've been
> scientifically compared.

Yeah, I agree. I searched for papers relating to feedback and learning
but didn't find very much material that seemed relevant in this case.
There were quite a few papers relating to feedback for motor skills
(where it is often beneficial but can be detrimental if too much
feedback is given), and there were some papers with regard to
phonological discrimination (e.g., learning to distinguish between "l"
and "r" for Japanese speakers unable to hear the difference: feedback
seems to be required in this case), but not much else focused
specifically on WM and/or attention. Maybe I'm not searching well
enough though, so if anybody else knows of papers that would be
relevant to learning about the role of feedback for tasks training
memory and attention, please let us know. I did find a few papers, but
they weren't freely available online.


> I think you're on to something about the meta-cognitive aspect. My
> standpoint is that since I don't know what goes on in my brain the
> feedback may distract me on a conscious level, but it may also, on a
> conscious and unconscious level, help me to correct and improve the
> skill of attention. It becomes a reminder to refocus and it elucidates
> more precisely when and how I lose focus.

Good points. It could very well be the case that the feedback
distraction is a good thing and causes aspects of attention relating
to distractibility to improve. If one eventually developed attention
that was extremely resistant to distraction, that would be a
tremendous improvement that I would expect to show transfer effects.

Martin Syk

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Jan 21, 2009, 4:11:06 AM1/21/09
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I wasn't expressing myself clearly enough.
Even though I think indicators may, as you say, train our skill to
focus in the face of distractions, what I really meant is that the
indicators gives us a way of evaluating whether or not we actually are
paying attention. It guides us into the optimal state of mind (for
this task) which I assume is pure attention. What I am saying is that
I think generally one can reach this state of mind faster with
indicators, than without.

Ashirgo

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Jan 21, 2009, 11:34:38 AM1/21/09
to Dual N-Back, Brain Training & Intelligence
With all the proper regard of what was already stated, I must say that
from my personal experience I feel thousand times better when the
indicators are disabled.

The first thing is that they are distracting, simply and obviously. I
fear that one may quickly fall into the habit of controlling them
during the exercise and it will inevitably set his attention astray -
just as it happened in my case.

What is more, the Paul in his wisdom states firmly: "Reduce stress in
your life. Chronic stress causes elevated levels of the stress hormone
cortisol which has many negative effects."

I immediately ask myself: "Are the indicators stressful?" - and
indeed, they are, is my answer.

I am getting more experienced with the mode without indicators. As to
your last compelling statement ( "It guides us into the optimal state
of mind (for this task) which I assume is pure attention. What I am
saying is that I think generally one can reach this state of mind
faster with indicators, than without. "),

I can say only that I immediately know whether I lost my attention or
not, with or without these indicators. Now the task itself is more a
pleasure than ever.

My last bold statement: the whole task is not about the feedback, but
about the focus and the ability to recall what we have seen with no
conscious effort (of recalling, rehearsing or however you would like
to call it). You may peruse the forum to find my list of hints
concerning the task, the "techniques" (and so on) that may prove
useful:)

Best regards and fare well,

Ash

biped

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Jan 21, 2009, 1:25:23 PM1/21/09
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On Jan 21, 1:11 am, Martin Syk <mar...@syk.se> wrote:
> I wasn't expressing myself clearly enough.
> Even though I think indicators may, as you say, train our skill to
> focus in the face of distractions, what I really meant is that the
> indicators gives us a way of evaluating whether or not we actually are
> paying attention. It guides us into the optimal state of mind (for
> this task) which I assume is pure attention. What I am saying is that
> I think generally one can reach this state of mind faster with
> indicators, than without.
>

You were expressing yourself fine. I did get your point when I first
read it, but I was just adding another possible reason that feedback
might be beneficial. You may be right about feedback guiding us into
maximal attention, but that isn't my experience at all. Like Ashirgo,
my attention is much more intense without feedback. When I first
turned feedback off, I immediately noticed a much sharper attention
than I had with feedback, and maximal attention increased very
quickly. When I said something like that to Dr. Jaeggi, she said that
that was exactly what lead them to choose having no feedback for
students and older adults (but not for kids). I also don't think it
likely that feedback can guide you into maximal attention, since with
feedback enabled, you have an additional task to focus on (noticing
whether you were correct or not, and returning your attention to the
primary WM task). If you devote some of your attention capacity to
monitoring performance, you will have less available for the primary
task.

There may be interindividual differences, of course. I have trouble
understanding how feedback could lead to sharper attention based on my
experience, and you feel the same way based on your experience, so
perhaps we're just wired differently...

biped

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Jan 21, 2009, 1:31:27 PM1/21/09
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On Jan 21, 8:34 am, Ashirgo <wieloslo...@gmail.com> wrote:
> ...
> I am getting more experienced with the mode without indicators. As to
> your last compelling statement ( "It guides us into the optimal state
> of mind (for this task) which I assume is pure attention. What I am
> saying is that I think generally one can reach this state of mind
> faster with indicators, than without. "),
>
> I can say only that I immediately know whether I lost my attention or
> not, with or without these indicators. Now the task itself is more a
> pleasure than ever.

That's my experience too, and that's what I meant when I talked
elsewhere about meta-cognitive awareness of memory performance and
attention. This real-time awareness of how sharp my attention and
memory are has improved vastly as well, and I attribute that at least
in part to being able to focus maximally on the task and not waste any
resources on monitoring feedback.

> ...

MR

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Jan 21, 2009, 4:33:35 PM1/21/09
to Dual N-Back, Brain Training & Intelligence
Hey Ash,

I noticed that you were one of the people that repeated the sequence
of letter in your head back in December. Did you stop doing that since
then? Do you now just try to think back to what you have heard without
repeating the stream of letters in your head?

Thanks,

M

On Jan 21, 8:34 am, Ashirgo <wieloslo...@gmail.com> wrote:

Ashirgo

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Jan 22, 2009, 3:06:31 AM1/22/09
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MR,

I dropped doing it, for I have just found that my new technique is
much more efficient. Repeating the sequence of anything in the task
degraded my performance in fact. The conscious repeating, at last,
since in a long run I cannot restrain myself from repeating anything,
but that sub-conscious rehearsal seems to be more advantageous.

I would describe my last approach in the following way: for both
stimuli it is like a capturing them in a photo, which I hold in my
brain during the task.

All in all, that one allowed me yesterday to get as far as to 12-
back:) As I have said, further particulars concerning this are to be
found somewhere in the forum.

Long live the Jaeggi Mode without feedback!

Regards,

Ash

Ron Williams

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Jan 22, 2009, 3:30:18 AM1/22/09
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I agree. I don't lose focus, just see the green/blue/red out of the
corner of my eye.

I also think that when a particular level is mastered, one should by
definition almost, be able to do just as well with as without the
indicator. I've found that on levels I do effortlessly well in, the
entire list of n-back items is available to me so that there is no
possibility that, if I'm paying attention, I can make a mistake. The
only issue then is whether I allow any distractions.

Until I reach that point, though, I like to have the instant feedback
to say "you didn't pay attention" or "well done" or "you don't see
them all clearly yet", because there is a 'feeling' that goes with
paying correct attention to all of the n-back items and you forget why
you didn't have that feeling or clarity of mind if the reward or
punishment takes too long in coming.

Not directly related, but I've bundled it:
----------------------------------
I don't think having the indicator goes away from the spirit of the
original study, I also think that rehearsing the items doesn't either,
for the reason that Jaeggi's reply to a related question asked as
reported in a previous post here was that they didn't want the use of
mental tricks, such as used by memory champions (Dominic O'Brien
e.g.).

Rehearsing isn't anything like that and is specifically the kind of
'memory' that 'doesn't work' and would be replaced by mnemonic
systems. We're trying to, at least partially, make it work by
stretching what's possible in working memory without mental crutches
like mnemonics.

Ashirgo

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Jan 22, 2009, 3:36:51 AM1/22/09
to Dual N-Back, Brain Training & Intelligence
Anyway, for me the task without indicators is just enjoyable, when
with them it was a hard chore to do every day, very stressing and
leaving me in a bad mood.

Ash

morphated

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Jan 22, 2009, 4:03:16 AM1/22/09
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I agree with Ash. I can't explain why, but I find dual n-back much
more fun with the indicators turned off.

Confuzedd

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Jan 23, 2009, 10:19:20 PM1/23/09
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I've been trying the the original Jaeggi mode in full screen that
hides all other information, and let me tell you I can't tolerate it
at all. I fall asleep and I just can't stay motivated (it may be my
depression&anxiety). I guess I'm still got that kid mindset -- I need
feedback; gotta love those green marks! I switched back to default
mode with the smaller layout after I dipped back to dual-2 and got
lazy and found myself back at dual-1 back again. I don't know -- it
must be my mood; however, doing poorly in the session brought on the
mood dip.

I'm still stuck on dual-3 after 30+ sessions (or about 1.5 months),
maybe I'm just unlucky with the worst of both sides: low intelligence
+ mental problems. Not fun. I can't believe people end up 4+ n-backs
in less than a month.


MR

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Jan 23, 2009, 10:28:15 PM1/23/09
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Confuzzed, I doubt your intelligence has anything to do with it; the
study showed that the people who did the worst on the IQ test ended up
having the largest benefit from the training task. Maybe you're at the
other end of the spectrum...too smart to improve :)

Seriously though, maybe your depression or anxiety have something to
do with it. Both are associated with poor concentration.

M

Paul

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Jan 23, 2009, 10:38:41 PM1/23/09
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Confuzzed, have you tried some different methods for remembering the n-back cues? Give this a try, I'm sure it will improve your performance: 

After viewing the new square and hearing the letter, consciously rehearse the previous N cues in order from oldest to newest (do this fast enough to finish before the next cue appears).

You can rehearse the position and audio simultaneously by saying the letter (out loud if necessary) and at the same time moving your eyes to the position of the square. Do this for each set of position & audio cues you need to remember. Move through the list rapidly and repeat it several times before the next cues appear.

When the new cues appear, compare the first, oldest item on your "rehearsal loop" (which will be the n-back cue) with the current cues to see if there's a match. Then begin the rehearsal again, but this time the first (oldest) item gets thrown out and the new set of cues gets added to the end of the list. 

After some practice you may notice this method becoming internalized, such that the rehearsals will happen automatically without conscious intervention.

Paul

Ashirgo

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Jan 25, 2009, 11:15:08 AM1/25/09
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Confuzedd, I am to say that my experience is pretty similar at this
point, for in the beginning I also found I miss these beautiful green
words so that I enabled them again.

After a few days, I disabled them, as I linked my depressed state of
mind and anger with the presence of feedback. I am telling you, now I
am as cool as a cucumber during the whole performance.

As to your specific problems, reading aloud (15-30 min per day),
playing some chess and doing regular physical exercise (I especially
love standing on one foot with my eyes closed :D ) may also contribute
to the improvement.

Regards, Ash
Message has been deleted
Message has been deleted

Confuzedd

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Jan 25, 2009, 11:44:26 AM1/25/09
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On Jan 23, 10:38 pm, Paul <plh...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Confuzzed, have you tried some different methods for remembering the n-back
> cues? Give this a try, I'm sure it will improve your performance:
> After viewing the new square and hearing the letter, consciously rehearse
> the previous N cues in order from oldest to newest (do this fast enough to
> finish before the next cue appears).

I've tried this before and it's pretty hard, I guess it'll take
time...

I think it could be because I got so used to 3-back and then I just
stalled. I
should try and get used to triple 1-back just to get a feel for
something different.

VinceD

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Jan 29, 2009, 9:56:33 PM1/29/09
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I love Jaeggi mode.. I think I find it alot easier to actually
focus.
I still Jump when a session is ending in Jaeggi mode, since I'm so
focused on the activity i don't expect the screen to change so
quickly. In the normal mode, I found myself glimping up to see how
much longer, and getting frustrated when I hit a wrong answer.

Also.. my performance is going up much better on Jaeggi now.. Some of
it I'll give to a different grading curve, but in the 4 days of doing
it, the slope of my improvement is def. better than the slope of my
improvement on the Normal setting.

SteveM

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Jan 31, 2009, 3:36:56 PM1/31/09
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I just started using the software a couple days ago. Today was the
first time I realized that there was actually real-time feedback on
the screen. I have to report that my progress was much worse after
this realization.
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