Improve your attention by playing

A game for improving your attention developed by the University of Helsinki is now on display in Heureka

People playing

”Attention and working memory can be developed with the help of computer games,” says Docent of Neurobiology Matias Palva.

In addition to research on the imaging of brain activity, Palva’s research group has developed games which help the gamer to calculate the capacity of his/her attention. According to the preliminary research results games develop perceptual ability.

Normally a human can consciously observe one to four objects at a time.

”You can easily understand what would happen if someone drives a car, talks on a mobile phone and tries to find a radio station at the same time,” says Palva.

One of the games will be presented to an audience on 16 April in the Finnish Science Centre Heureka. You can also try them later on the Internet. Heureka’s display is a part of collaborative exhibition of four large science centres. After Helsinki the exhibition will visit Haag, Lisbon and Paris.

The concepts of the games are simple – a goal might be to, for example, follow the transformation of creatures moving on the screen.

The main research of Palva's group is about mapping the interaction between different brain areas. The latest part of the research will be presented in the renowned PNAS publication series.

Brain exercise becomes a business

Different ”brain games” have become a growing field of business. The games promise to sharpen the consumer’s savvy.

The idea is not yet a reality in everyday life. Instead, a game mostly develops the skills practiced in the game itself, and their effect does not extend to the everyday life. Only a couple of games have been shown to develop brains more widely.

”Only lately has it been noticed that the cognitive exercise of a computer game may lead to noticeable changes in the physiology of brain,” says Palva.

“We still have a long way to go to achieve revolutionary changes in the performance capacity of brain with the help of games,” says Palva.

www.heureka.fi/portal/englanti/_current_issues/?id=679

Text: Saku Schildt
Photo credit: Veikko Somerpuro
16.4.2010
www.helsinki.fi/digitalcommunications

Translation: AAC GLOBAL OY


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