Following is information on mental/brain training from a company, Posit Science, that I think you’ll find VERY interesting.
Sharpness starts with the senses
Our eyes, ears, and other sensory organs constantly send information to the brain. Our brains use this information to construct our experiences and memories, from the magnificent—a loved one’s face, a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, a wedding proposal—to the mundane—an acquaintance’s name, a grocery list, a drive to a nearby store.
The better we absorb this information, the better we can respond to it and store it, so that we can remember it and use it later. That’s what mental sharpness is all about— having strong brain function that supports a variety of cognitive skills.
Posit Science programs increase the quantity of sensory information the brain takes in and improves the quality with which the brain processes and records this information. This improvement has a ripple effect, improving “higher” functions of the brain that work with that information.
Think of it like a tree: healthy roots able to absorb plentiful nutrients and water make for a stronger trunk, shinier leaves, and more fruit.
Posit Science programs strengthen the brain from the roots up. This approach is different from many others, which provide compensatory strategies, teach the brain “tricks” to remember, or drill the brain on memory tasks. Many scientific studies demonstrate that such a focus on caring for the fruit while ignoring the roots has limited benefits.
Throughout life, our brains successfully absorb a lot of information from our senses. But for most of us, including almost everyone over age 40, our brains could do better. When we’re in our 30s, three core trends begin to affect brain function. Over time, these have noticeable impacts on our memory, thinking, and focus. They include:
- Speed: Slower processing
Our brains gradually slow down—but the speed of information coming in from the senses (sights and sounds happening in our lives) does not. Over time, the brain begins to miss details, making it more difficult to react to and remember what we saw or heard.
- Accuracy: “Fuzzier” processing
Like the grooves of an old record, the brain’s neural pathways often get fuzzier, scratchier, or even distorted. When the brain records the static along with the important sensory information, memories are fuzzier and more difficult to process in higher cognitive functions.
- Recording: Fewer neuromodulators
The brain uses chemicals called neuromodulators to determine what information is important to record and process. With each passing decade, our brains produce fewer neuromodulators. A deficit of neuromodulators hinders the brain’s ability to record new information—in other words, its ability to learn and remember.
At first, people don’t notice problems in the moment because they (unknowingly) use context to fill in what they missed. In other words, we draw on our extensive life experience to “fill in the blanks” and make sense of information that is incomplete.
Although this compensatory behavior helps us in the immediate situation, it doesn’t improve the quality of the recording (the memory). As the years pass, the gaps can become too big for context to fill in. When this occurs, it can be hard to catch and respond to the information even at the moment.
Caring for the roots
Posit Science programs (and the SAAGE protocol they are built on) are designed to reverse these three root problems. Their primary goals are to:
- Speed up brain processing
- Sharpen processing accuracy
- Stimulate the neuromodulatory machinery that controls recording
You can read about their design approach to learn more about how our programs achieve these goals HERE.
Where does neuroplasticity fit in?
Their programs harness the brain’s inherent plasticity—its ongoing remodeling throughout life—and direct it in ways that enhance overall performance. Given that the brain is the most complex machine on earth, this is no simple task.
Posit Science has invested in a Scientific Advisory Board of more than 50 scientists from leading universities because each one brings his or a unique expertise to the team. Their collected contributions enable our programs to work on several levels, so that the brain changes in ways that contribute to a better functioning—and ultimately, better quality of life.
Generalization for a better life
The Posit Science roots-up approach emphasizes “generalization,” or the extension of benefits beyond the trained task. Here’s an example: Using a program in which you practice remembering a grocery list may help you get better at remembering grocery lists. With Posit Science programs, you may not ever practice grocery lists.
By exercising the roots of memory, however, you will likely find that not only can you remember grocery lists better, you can also remember conversations with your neighbor, tasks at work, a movie you saw over the weekend, that word that is on the tip of your tongue and where you left your keys. These “generalized” changes are what improve quality of life.
You don’t have to take our word for the effectiveness of our approach. Each of our programs has been subjected to thorough clinical testing and the results have been published in leading peer-reviewed journals. View a summary of clinical results HERE
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