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Much like physical exercise strengthens the body, mental exercise promotes a healthy awareness. The brain training exercise described on this page will strengthen your concentration and improve fluid intelligence.
With regular practice these games will produce measurable results. Personal experience has confirmed the benefits of these brain training exercises. I've had objective standardized tests taken to measure my IQ, both before and after training. Prior to engaging in a mental fitness regimen, I took the MENSA entrance exam. Unfortunately I didn't make the cutoff. However, after three months of N-back training and a few other mental exercises, I was able to score well above the MENSA entrance level on a timed, professionally administered IQ test.
This is a true story, and I only tell it so that you can believe that it's possible. The commitment that you have to expanding your reasoning and creativity will determine your results. By training your mind, you open yourself up to a greater understanding of yourself and the external world.
For this reason, I highly recommend strengthening your mind by creating and following your own training regimen. Set a daily goal and do your best to follow through as time allows. If you miss a day or two, who cares. Your brain is similar to a muscle and needs rest from exercise just the same. Below I describe in detail one of the most effective training exercises I know of.
The Dual N-back task was tested and proven to be effective by research psychologists. Studies have shown that the Dual N-back task has a profound effect on working memory. It's the main exercise which I used for my mental training regimen in between IQ tests. The task helped me improve concentration and available working memory. It's incredible how plastic the brain is. With regular practice, I know that you will receive the benefits of your effort.
There are several versions of the Dual N-back task available, and the embed here is thanks to Cognitive Fun.
Provided here are links related to research and other versions of the Dual N-back task. It may be important for you to verify the results so that you can first believe that the exercises will work for you. My personal experience has taken me beyond belief to knowing that they work. It's my hope that you will use these exercises to benefit your mental abilities. Enjoy!
Here is the link to the original article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The article discusses the specifications and results of the study in depth. They describe the exact format of Dual N-back task used (which most of the other versions are based on). Also, they describe the number and characteristics of all of the study participants.
There are two versions of Dual N-back which are browser based and very well-designed. I personally had a part in creating and designing the one you can find at themindflow.com. The MindFlow version is flash based, so it's cross platform friendly. There is a walk-through tutorial which helps explain the task in simple terms, because it can be somewhat confusing when you first start. I hope you find it useful.
and here is the Microsoft Silverlight version:
There is a version of Dual N-back called Brain workshop which can be downloaded, and used on your desktop. The download site has a great amount of information related to the Dual N-back task. It is also a good place to read a tutorial about the game to cut down on learning time.
If you are looking to engage in practice which is a little less intense, then there are several other brain training games on this site: Brain Games. While I can't vouch for there effectiveness in lab studies, I can say that they are very engaging and fun. For a good laugh and a real mind twister try the moving memory game.