If working memory is important for brain fitness, and training it may make it better (and even improve scores on other cognitive measures), how do you train it?
Here are 5 ways to train working memory:
The single best way to train working memory for brain fitness is to use (almost the) same computer program used by Jaeggi et al. in her study. You can’t get exactly the same software that will automate something called n-back training. You can, however, use Brain Workshop, free open-source software that closely imitates the procedures used in studies of working memory. The software for brain fitness training is free, and you can download it here.
As useful as n-back training is, you may want to branch out and do other things. A visual game that can train working memory is called concentration, a matching game that makes you remember the position of pictures while you look for a match. There are lots of these kinds of games on the web (and one version is included in the Posit Science brain training software. I put one up on the Web – click here to try it out. (I borrowed the code for this game from a book called ActionScript Game Programming University and can’t take personal credit for it. It’s a great book about Flash game programming, and you can find the author’s website here.)
Away from your computer? Why not try Sudoku? You can do it on paper in books, and you can find a number of applications for your phone or handheld game device. You can even download and print them from the web. I found several sources, including here. Don’t know what Sudoku is? Find out more about it here.
Standing in line at the grocery store? Pick out numbers off the cover of the magazines and add them in your head. Too easy? Subtract them and multiply by another number. Still too easy? When was the last time you did a square root in your head?
Sitting on the couch at home? Spend time visualizing the route from your home to a place you only go to once in a while. Get a mental picture of your own home, then create a mental image of the first turn, and then the next, and the next. Did you get there? Now reverse the route until you get home.