Brain Fitness vs Mind Sparke
My site has been getting searches for the phrase brain fitness vs mind spark, or mind sparke, and I am going to assume as I write this that the searchers are looking for a comparison between the Posit Science Brain Fitness Program and the Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro cognitive training programs.
Please understand that both programs are designed to enhance two basic capacities of the human brain, neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.
Both programs are good at enhancing neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.
Neurogenesis is the growth of new neurons and neuroplasticity involve neurons forming new connections, which is a ceaseless process, and can happen in minutes and hours, or strengthening already existing connections, so that when one neuron either excites or inhibits, nearby neurons follow suit.
That is the essence of any comparison. Is their one best program or way to enhance brain fitness?
I would suggest that variety is the spice of learning. New learning is what helps the brain do this connection building or strenthening the best.
In that regard, the Mind Sparke program trains what researchers call fluid intelligence, which is the, and this is my description, ability to walk into an unfamiliar situation and tease out novel solutions. This could be contrasted to crystallized intelligence which utilizes what I have already learned. (A new domestic violence client for me would access my crystallized intelligence).
Each program grew from research reflecting the researchers interests and experiences, and reflect those ideas.
I have both and use both, and I personally like both. When I started with the Mind Sparke, which I bought first, I was more curious about what the tool was like, and what results I might notice from using it.
What I noticed immediately, even before I had developed any kind of a knack for the tool, and if you look at the video above you get a quick introduction to Mind Sparke, was that my concentration was better on my real life tasks, meaning I was able to hold it longer. No mean task for an ADD kind of brain, wonderful at generating ideas, not so good at executing them.
The Mind Sparke is based on research using what is called the Dual n back task.
From the Mind Sparke site, "Brain Fitness Pro stimulates new neural growth and brain plasticity with a training exercise that tests and strengthens visual and aural working memory simultaneously. Until recently scientists believed that the adult brain did not grow and change, but advances in stimulating, testing, and monitoring brain change have proven that change is possible throughout our adult lives. Brain change requires three essential conditions: Focus, Challenge, and Reward."
The Mind Sparke program initial training requires that you complete 19 trainings, usually once per day, each practice lasting about 20 minutes.
It's cost is approximately $60.00 and it is available at the link below.
The Posit Science Brain Fitness Pro is based on research done with Senior Citizens, and works primarily with the auditory circuitry.
A hint, from the book, A Brain That Changes Itself, by Norman Doidge, MD, and this is from Chapter 3, where the author interviews Michael Merzenich who is the brain behind the Posit Science model.
"Clearly when we learn, we increase what we know. But Merzenich’s claim is that we can also change the very structure of the brain itself and increase its capacity to learn. Unlike a computer, the brain is constantly adapting itself.
“The cerebral cortex,” he says of the thin outer layer of the brain, “is actually selectively refining its processing capacities to fit each task at hand.” It doesn’t simply learn; it is always “learning how to learn.” The brain Merzenich describes is not an inanimate vessel that we fill; rather it is more like a living creature with an appetite, one that can grow and change itself with proper nourishment and exercise. Before Merzenich’s work, the brain was seen as a complex machine, having unalterable limits on memory, processing speed, and intelligence. Merzenich has shown that each of these assumptions is wrong."
The Posit Science Brain Fitness Program reflects what Michael Merzenich believes about the brain.
Merzenich makes a distinction that others who provide brain fitness tools do not.
He says that the training must be of the right kind. And he is interested in dynamic brain maps based on sensory experience, which, remember, are changing all the time, based on what information I give to my brain.
The Brain Fitness Program is an auditory training tool.
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