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[xmca] font chax vs word meaning (update on Mum's brain progress!)

Dear Mike,

My Mum is tickled pink that you are interested in her brain training!
She bought the DS and game about 8 weeks ago and has been using it quite frequently while they have been away on holiday over this time. She says that the first time she took the brain age test she was given a brain age of 78 (Her real age is 74), but now she is down to a brain age of 64. She did admit though that sometimes she skips the stroop test because she gets frustrated that the DS often can't recognise when she is saying black or red and marks her wrong even when she isn't!!! (Must be our Aussie accent) 

As for generalisation to other tasks - like Olivia Newton John on the Nintendo DS ad, she does think that she feels a bit 'sharper' on the days she has done her 'brain training' - but there is certainly nothing very scientifically reliable about this hunch! 

Is there some skill in particular you were interested in? 

Helen Grimmett

> Date: Fri, 4 Sep 2009 17:28:42 -0700
> From: Mike Cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Re: When does an action begin and end?: font
> 	characteristics vsword meaning
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> Message-ID:
> 	<30364f990909041728h3bcd76fdu45f50bd9a7bc73af@mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> Helen, Steve, et al---
> The introduction of the stroop test in this context is very interesting
> with
> lots of potential connections.
> Helen -- Could you perhaps provide us with more, or periodic,
> descriptions
> of your mom's progress on the various brainiac activities?
> What is particularly interesting are hints around that the effects of
> such
> activity can have effects that generalize beyond the tasks themselves.
> So far as i know, no one in the cultural historical tradition has gotten
> into this line of activity, but perhaps others will enlighten me.
> mike
> On Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 10:21 PM, Duvall, Emily <emily@uidaho.edu> wrote:
>> Hi Helen,
>> You are certainly correct. Understanding the written symbols certainly
>> interferes and has an impact on attention. By the way, the link below
>> allows you to take the stroop test yourself. You can find other
>> variations at http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/words.html and
>> Chudler does speak to the ability to read for meaning as interference.
>> There is also a link to the Nova page and to interference.
>> I suspect that your mother is experiencing some habituation as she
>> repeats the activity, however I would guess that the cognitive purpose
>> is to promote the (re)development of control and attention...
>> affectively... it's a good time!
>> ~em
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu]
>> On Behalf Of Helen Grimmett
>> Sent: Monday, August 24, 2009 7:33 PM
>> To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>> Subject: [xmca] Re: When does an action begin and end?: font
>> characteristics vsword meaning
>> Hi Emily,
>> Wouldn't young children find the Stroop test easier because their
>> reading skills are not sufficiently developed to recognise the words
>> at
>> sight and therefore decoding the words demands far greater attention
>> from them than it does for older children or adults. For these
>> children
>> it is much easier to ignore the symbolic content of the word because
>> working that out is harder than recognising the colour of the font.
>> However for 'sight readers' the symbolic content automatically pops
>> into
>> your head and is much more difficult to ignore.
>> My 74 year old mother has just bought a Nintendo DS and Brain training
>> game which includes this test. She found it quite difficult at first
>> but
>> has improved with practice. I'll have to borrow it and try it out on
>> my
>> seven yr old son. He can certainly read the colour words but I wonder
>> how hard he still has to work to decode the print rather than
>> recognise
>> them at sight, and therefore how much easier it is for him to ignore
>> the
>> symbolic content and just pay attention to the colour?
>> Cheers,
>> Helen Grimmett
>> > Date: Mon, 24 Aug 2009 09:20:17 -0700
>> > From: "Duvall, Emily" <emily@uidaho.edu>
>> > Subject: RE: [xmca] When does an action begin and end?: font
>> >       characteristics vsword meaning
>> > To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
>> > Message-ID:
>> >       <3B19033D3E2EC34C97DF364119A79A61EBB7F1@EXVS1.its.uidaho.edu>
>> > Content-Type: text/plain;     charset="us-ascii"
>> >
>> > Hi Steve,
>> > This is the classic Stroop test. I had some of my grad students in
>> > psycholinguistics use it this summer - there is a bit more to it,
>> > but
>> > essentially we found that younger children have less difficulty
>> > (grade 2
>> > and below for example) than older children and that adults have the
>> > mostdifficulty. This was more of a fun experiment in understanding
>> > the ways
>> > the brain lays down its neural pathways such that, while plastic,
>> > the
>> > brain lays down some pretty formidable dendritic connections with
>> > regardto attention.
>> > http://www.snre.umich.edu/eplab/demos/st0/stroopdesc.html
>> >
>> > The left-brain right brain stuff feeds into neuromyths on the
>> > workings
>> > of the brain, by the way.
>> > ~em
>> >
>> > -----Original Message-----
>> > From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu
>> > [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu]
>> > On Behalf Of Steve Gabosch
>> > Sent: Monday, August 24, 2009 3:07 AM
>> > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> > Subject: Re: [xmca] When does an action begin and end?: font
>> > characteristics vsword meaning
>> >
>> > Attached below is a chart I found on the internet some time ago that
>> > seems relevant to the problem discussed the other week of
>> > understandingLeontiev's claim that the physical characteristics of
>> > a text font can be
>> > relatively unconscious to a reader unless something calls specific
>> > attention to them.
>> >
>> > In this chart, color words like YELLOW, BLUE, RED are printed on a
>> > chartusing font colors that are different from the word.  The
>> > challenge is to
>> > look at each word in the chart and say the **color**
>> > of the font, and ignore the color **word** that the letters form.
>> > Compare this challenge with doing the opposite, saying the word
>> > being
>> > formed, and ignoring the font color.  The latter will probably seem
>> > easier.
>> >
>> > This appears to demonstrate that, for some or perhaps many, it is
>> > easierto read the words and ignore the font color than it is to
>> > notice the
>> > color of the font and ignore the word meaning.  To do the
>> > latter seems to take special concentration.   Persons affected by
>> > this
>> > chart in this manner seem to need .  Perhaps this could be seen as a
>> > demonstration of Leontiev's point. In some ways, it seems to go
>> > even
>> > further.
>> >
>> > In any case, it is surprising to observe how the meaning of a
>> > **word**
>> > can disrupt and least some people's ability to immediately and
>> > consistently correctly notice and state the color of the **font**
>> > (whatLeontiev calls the "outward aspect of the text").  The
>> > symbolic content
>> > of the words seems to overshadow the physical characteristics of the
>> > font unless the reader makes a special effort to focus on these
>> > physicalcharacteristics specifically.  The use of color in this
>> > situation seems
>> > to exaggerate this general phenomenon.
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
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