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Mentalrobics™

You exercise your body to stay physically in shape, so why shouldn't you exercise your brain to stay mentally fit? With these daily exercises you will learn how to flex your mind, improve your creativity and boost your memory. As with any exercise, repetition is necessary for you to see improvement, so pick your favorite exercises from our daily suggestions and repeat them as desired. Try to do some mentalrobics every single day!

Dementia is a general term that refers to an abnormal decline in cognitive function due to disease or damage. Dementia can affect most parts of the brain, but areas that are particularly affected are memory, attention, language, problem solving, and orientation. Dementia is sometimes confused with delirium, which has similar symptoms but is caused in elderly people by a disruption in their lifestyle (surgery, poor sleep, change in environment, etc). Delirium can be reversed, but dementia rarely gets better.

The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer's Disease, but there are many other conditions that can cause dementia. For example, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, AIDS, hypothyroidism, alcoholism or cancer.

 



Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disease that is caused by the loss of neurons in the part of the brain that produces dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that helps coordinate muscle movement and memory formation. In addition to the muscle tremors that most people associate with Parkinson's disease, visual memory is often affected as well. Depression, dementia and general memory loss can also occur in patients with the disease.

The cause of Parkinson's disease is not entirely understood, but the prevalent theory is that genetic factors combined with certain toxins can be a trigger. Studies have found that people exposed to pesticides and other agricultural chemicals have a higher risk of developing the disease. Head trauma can also play a small roll.

 



A flashbulb memory is one that is vividly imprinted on the brain due to an extremely unexpected or emotional event. The September 11 attacks and the JFK assassination are examples of events that can cause people to remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when the events occurred. The heightened emotional significance of these events causes our memories to become hyper-aware, which is why you can remember small details many years after the event has happened. The repetition that comes from the media is another reason that these memories can be so vivid and lasting.

 



The Rashomon Effect is the phenomenon by which observers of an event can produce very different but entirely plausible accounts of what happened. This is because every person has a unique set of life experiences that cause him to pay attention to things in his own way. Physical position and personal relationship to the event, as well as psychological makeup, determine how a person will perceive it. This is one reason why eyewitness testimony can be so unreliable.

For example, two fans are at the same baseball game. They are rooting for opposite teams. Once the game is over, the fan of the winning team is likely to have a very different memory than the fan of the losing team, even though they were watching the same game.

 



We have talked about how the average short-term memory can only hold around 7 pieces of information. Here is a test to see how good your short-term memory is.

Slowly read each line once and then look away and try to recall the numbers. The first few should be easy. Once you get to 7 or 8 digits, you will start to have a very difficult time.

4 8 6
2 5 7 8
5 8 2 5 7
9 1 3 4 0 6
6 7 2 8 4 3 8
1 9 8 3 0 7 5 2
0 9 3 7 0 4 6 9 1

 





 

 



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