Multi-tasking games sharpen the mind

Nick White
July 10, 2024
Thinkie’s brain training games are designed to stimulate brain functions such as mental speed, memory, attention, prediction, concentration, and inhibition – and sometimes several of these simultaneously or in rapid succession.

Enhancing memory and focus

Some of the best brain games for memory improvement – Symbolic Recall, Animal Nickname, and Number Recall – involve remembering and updating information from two different streams of stimuli occurring simultaneously, such as pairing visual stimuli with auditory stimuli. These games are called divided attention tasks and they challenge working memory and attentional control processes, leading to improvements in the user’s focus and attention-switching.

A divided attention task is somewhat similar to, and yet different from, another type of test you may have encountered: n-back testing. The former involves processing and responding to multiple streams of information simultaneously. It tests how well you can manage and update information from different sources at the same time.

The brain's various constituent parts are indeed dedicated to specific functions, though there is also significant interconnectivity and overlap.

Alternatively, the n-back test specifically measures working memory. In this type of test, participants are presented with a sequence of stimuli and must indicate when the current stimulus matches the one from n steps earlier in the sequence. The difficulty increases with the value of n.

While both tasks require attention and working memory, the n-back test is more focused on the ability to recall and match specific items from a sequence, whereas divided attention tasks assess the ability to handle multiple streams of information concurrently.

Wholly different are selective attention tasks, which require individuals to focus on a specific target stimulus while ignoring irrelevant or distracting stimuli. Thinkie brain games such as Random Number Order and Flash Number are selective attention tasks that exercise the user’s concentration. This type of game presents a series of objects or symbols on the screen, which players must then quickly identify and respond to a target stimulus while ignoring irrelevant ones.

Selective attention games require focus on the stimuli that matter while avoiding distraction.

Selective attention games engage multiple regions of the brain simultaneously, stimulating neural networks associated with attention, focus, and executive function. A study from the National Institute of Health (NIH), Cognitive Function: Mind games: do they work?, reveals that regular practice strengthens the neural connections governing these functions and leads to improved cognitive abilities over time.

Adaptive gameplay

Thinkie’s brain training games are purposefully designed to gradually increase their level of difficulty, thus requiring players to sustain their attention and focus for longer periods as they progress. This increased cognitive demand presents additional challenges to the brain’s ability to maintain attentional control and resist distractions, which leads to further improvements in focus and concentration.

While its adaptive feature is subtle in nature, receiving immediate feedback is crucial: during gameplay, the Thinkie sensor immediately presents the user with visual feedback as to how hard they are working their brains.

This combination of immediate visual feedback and adaptive gameplay allows Thinkie users to not only instantly gauge their level of brain training effort, but also track their long-term progress toward improved cognitive health. The two forms of feedback work in tandem to motivate players to both maintain focus in the moment, and also continue their practice on a regular basis.

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