It is good for improving your crossword skills but does it lead on to other kinds of advanced cognitive function? No. There is no translation of the crossword skills to other skill categories. That shouldn’t discourage anyone, they are a lot of fun, but a vigorous hike will do more for your cognitive function.
The brain is elastic. It acts as a fortified dome yet gets easily duped into submission. It can be excited, bored, and fearful all at the same time. The brain can also toggle between nostalgia and dreams.
Like a social network, the brain uses its synapses to connect the likeliest and unlikeliest of friends. Neurons bloom. The opportunity to meet or follow new people lights up the brain masking the task at hand.
The Internet makes it easy to avoid here and now, to live vicariously through data rather than through touch. People interconnect but hide behind a screen of invincibility. Everyone hyperbolizes their true physical self.
The ability to self-promote and receive “likes” through fabricated stories glues every one of us to each other, making it impossible to let go. Reality is less addicting than it’s ever been.
The conclusion: the games may yield improvements in the narrow task being trained, but this does not transfer to broader skills like the ability to read or do arithmetic, or to other measures of intelligence. Playing the games makes you better at the games, in other words, but not at anything anyone might care about in real life.
Life skills originate from education and dealing with all types of people. Video games are virtual experiences; the skills apply only on screen.
Simon Kuper of the Financial Times examines the impact of social media on writing:
“The relatively unfiltered and spontaneous production of one person’s mind is just the sort of thing that is readily stored in another’s mind.” That’s probably why Twitter, Facebook and reality TV are successful.
More people are writing because of the rapid communication of social media, and they’re doing it in an organic, conversational prose which is how we’re instructed to write in the first place.
We may waste time on social media but at least our brains are forced to think through participation. This is much better than passively watching TV and letting the neurons go to sleep.
Braille has its roots in the French army. In the early eighteenth century, a soldier named Charles Barbier de la Serre invented a code for military messages that could be read in the trenches at night without light; it used patterns of twelve raised dots to represent phonemes. The system was too complicated for the beleaguered soldiers to master, but when Barbier met Louis Braille, who had been blind since boyhood, the latter simplified the system into the six-dot version used ever since. Braille is not a language per se but rather a code by which other languages, from English to Japanese to Arabic…