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Are cognitive games, such as riddles and chess, enough to improve you brain skills and avoid its aging?

There is a tendency to regard this sort of games as the key tools to train you brain. However, are these the only ways for achieving this purposes? What about food and its consecuences over the brain?.

The aging of the brain is a matter that affects all people worldwide. On the one hand, it affects them when dealing with matters of life and, on the other hand, it lead to a state of disorientation and feelings of being ill. Are these games the answer to their problems ?

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    Feb 11 2014: When I am preparing to undertake a very challenging new project, it has always been my practice to do some form of brain excercises in preparation. Currently I am using chess and sudoku as my daily brain rejuvenating "respites" when I need a break from the very challenging project I have been working on for about 18 months.
    Each game, or brain strategy brings out and strengthens aspects of how our brains can work more creatively and more efficiently . Sudoku helps me connect and draw upon unconscious/suv conscious knowledge more fluently. .Chess as I am working with it now, helps me to deal with opposition and challenges by refernce to key principles and helps to keep me moving forward productively on my "end game" in my real work. Lately explore "minesweepers" a bit and found it useful in ways I can't quite express..something maybe like systematic thinking.

    I don't know whether this helps with our health or prevents ageing but I do know from long experience that our brains need exercise and rejuvenation. Situations , especially where there are issues of opposition and control can sometimes lead us into unfruitful and sub optimal use of our brain power that can become habitual if we don't make a point of trying to keep our brans operating in fruitful, intuitive, creative ways.
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      Feb 11 2014: I have known many people who, like you, engage in ostensibly unrelated forms of engagement to stimulate their creativity and ingenuity in their central challenging work. Richard Feynman was a great enthusiast for mathematical puzzles but also such hobbies as picking locks. Einstein played violin. Theoretical physicist Lisa Randall, I believe, writes opera. I have known people who study foreign languages for recreation. I know another quantum physicist whose preferred downtime recreation is reading challenging poetry in Latin.

      I usually have an area of study going that is different from but related to questions with which I am preoccupied. Last year I was deeply involved in reading neuroscience and the interdisciplinary study of mind, for example. As my professional training is not in science, that different use of mind is useful for mental flexibility. But I also studied oil painting and drawing.
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      Feb 12 2014: Lindsay and Fritzie,
      You both reinforce an element that I believe to be a key factor when we are evaluating the value of puzzles and games.....variety of mental and physical stimulation. As you say Lindsay....each game, or brain strategy brings out and strengthens (nurtures and exercises) aspects of how our brain can work and play more creatively and efficiently.

      I agree Fritzie, that the varity contributes to mental flexibility. I've played scrabble all my life, and my daughter recently gave me a tablet, so I can play scrabble on line. It feels like a whole new adventure.....I can play against myself, with other on-line players, and against the computer. It's the same game, and a whole new experience!
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        Feb 12 2014: Colleen,

        Nice to see you again and thanks for stopping by to further develop from your own experience to this thread on unlocking the hidden powers of our brain..

        A book I was fortunate enough to discover early in my college career is by physicist Lawrence t Kubie (terrrble title".Neurotic Distortion of the Creative Process) but it guidance ( and shared experience of scientists who had made great discoveries ) was to work on all things from our pre-conscious., to frame the right question ( a question that does not contain what you think the answer iis) and entrust that to non conscious thought ( including dreams and sleep) My entire career and present work is founded on that.

        My exploration of games is really about keeping this pre-conscious open and accessible, keeping the pathways to conscious mind clear.

        Don't want to go to far into the weeds on this and always resist trying to explain it or offer theories on how it works, but I have noticed there is a relationship between "deficiencies" or gaps in my work process and the games I choose for "excercise"..its an unknowing choice, an inner recognition that something is off center or out of balance , when I am no longer working "in the zone". Seems to be a self guided, self informed guidance system from a non verbal non conscious part of "self" .

        So perhaps choices we "stick to" and return to in daily life are somehow discovered "training fundamentals" that keep a heathy alinement in a uniquely personal way.

        Again, so nice to see you again. Best to you. .
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          Feb 12 2014: I would guess that people unconsciously pick some activities that actually fill gaps for them and some that make them feel comfortable in other ways. This is true of habits.

          That part of creative work is unconsciously done is well-accepted among notable scholars who study creativity. It is what I would call a very mainstream finding.
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          Feb 12 2014: Nice to see you too Lindsay, and hope you are well. I say that because you disappear from TED every once in awhile, and I wonder if you are ok:>)

          I totally agree with keeping the mind and heart open and accessible....keeping the pathways, including the neural pathways open, clear and functioning.

          I also experience a sense of "knowing" what kind of physical or mental activity might be more beneficial to bring the mind/body into balance at any given time. I believe that our intuition, instinct or subconscious (inner recognition that something is off center or out of balance, as you say), gives us this information when/if we listen and pay attention.

          I agree Fritzie, that we can consciously or unconsciously choose activities that may fill gaps in our effort to balance, and I agree that it is a very mainstream concept.

          A simple example is in my reading habits....
          If I am intensely researching or studying something on a deep level, and reading all sorts of books to learn about that particular issue, there comes a point when I need to get away from it for awhile and rest the mind/brain. I put the in-depth books down for awhile and read something simple and light....maybe a novel or adventure story. While the activity is still stimulating, it is exercising the brain/neural pathways in a different way.


          lfv af asks..."Are these games the answer to their problems ?"

          I do not perceive any one factor as "the answer" to good health or a means by which we avoid aging. They may, however, contribute to aging gracefully:>)
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        Feb 12 2014: Yes, Fritzie. In reply to Colleen and her love of Scrabble, I am suggesting that our attraction to certain games ( or for hat matter to art, music, dance, sport) is a very personal one and informed in a very unique and interior way.

        I think I am also suggesting that this inner guidance is about health and well being. I think our physical beings seek wellness ( that is the job of every cell in our body..to serve the wellness of the whole..we ar literally programmed to wellness in an invisible and interiror way.

        I would say more from my own experience, that as my body fails ( I have lots of impairments from the effects of aggressive chemo/radiation 6 years ago) I find a kind of apotheosis in my mental and spiritual faculties..what I can "form "as life and meaning from my bran and my spirit becomes more important and also more powerful. So my choices now for games is almost all about mental and spiritual faculties whereas in my former life of phsyical strength and wellness sports that "excercised " the mind body connection ( skating, skiing, tennis, off shore sailing, even fishing) were available choices, in my physical frailty where my life is constrained to mental and spiritual life ( as for many elderly) the recreational terrain open to me necessarily focus on "brain food" or "spirit food" .

        So maybe "health" is really about "fullness" of expression and experience and the choices we make ( if we are listening to that inner call to wellness) in games, recreation and even the company and entertainment we choose are about attaining that maximum fullness.in a uniquely personal .

        So going back to our hosts original question "games" in a larger sense throughout our lives can help us attain and even discover whatever fullness..( "health") is possible for us.as unique individuals.
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          Feb 12 2014: It sounds as if you are well attuned to the sorts of activities that bring you a sense of health or fullness and that are consistent with your energy and physical limitations. May your health only improve this year.

          I only wanted to suggest that just because a person chooses an array of activities does not mean these necessarily have wisdom for him, though on some level they may have value, if only in the short run. For example, some people, without being forced to, probably watch more television than is good for them or drink more alcohol. One may interpret these choices as coming from inner guidance in the sense that no one is forcing them to make these choices. Some people neglect getting the level of exercise that would be best for them without real excuse.

          These cases suggest to me that our inner guidance seems fallible in general.

          I agree with you absolutely that activities will have different value for different people and that people should not force themselves to pursue recreations that don't suit us. People get very different value from the games they play, books they read and the conversations or interactions they have with people, depending in part on their attitudes. It is, as you say, very personal.
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          Feb 12 2014: Good point Fritzie...."...just because a person chooses an array of activities does not mean these necessarily have wisdom for him, though on some level they may have value...".

          I think it is important to "know thyself", and not necessarily make a judgment regarding what is good and what is bad.

          You mention TV.....
          I observe so many people who often say TV is terrible or bad, and they don't know why they sit there and watch it! My perception, is that the activity or habit (watching TV or any other activity that is habitual) is feeding something in that person, and until they/we figure out what that is, they will keep watching it. The other thing is, of course.....it is a choice.

          I agree Fritzie that our inner guidance can be fallible WHEN/IF we do not know where the information is coming from.....what is it that is guiding the choices?

          I think of my love of chocolate....LOL:>)
          There are times when I crave chocolate, and I playfully try to justify it by thinking that my body needs chocolate. Well, maybe it does, and maybe it doesn't, and my guess is that it is often an emotional "treat". Chocolate is neither good or bad....it is another food. I am confident with the fact that I eat very healthy all the time, so if I want to have a chocolate fix, I enjoy every morsel:>)

          So, yes, activities have different value for different people....depending on attitude. One can eat the chocolate feeling guilty because it is perceived as a bad thing, or one can enjoy every bite. It is important to consider ALL elements......know thyself.

          I think/feel that is true of everything in the life adventure......HOW we do something (attitude) is as important or maybe more so than the actual activity.
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        Feb 12 2014: Coleen,

        As is often the case we are on the same page.

        I am enjoying being sometimes back at TED Conversations..seectiing topics like ths one that are of interest to me but also I think important to the "us" part of well being. The part of each of us that seeks to serve the whole.

        I went from our many governance discussions here at TED to a venue called Occupy Café created by John Abbott ( a creator of "occupy" and Tom Atlee ( Co_intelligence Institute) to consider what Occupy ( which become its own life beyond what Abbott and others imagined or intended) to consider that means and what was next. My current work, Bowker Assciates, is that next.

        I would say TED Conversations ( and in its own way even facebook. ( at least among my facebook friends) is in the same vein as "games" as we are discussing it in this conversation. It is part of going to the well that something interioriy says we thirst for. ( I ike the new culture here at TED..its tone and civility its more collaborative tone)
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    Feb 9 2014: Hello lfv af,
    As you insightfully say, participating in games is a "tool".....one "tool" in our toolbox:>)

    As already mentioned in this comment thread, it is important to take care of the entire body/mind interconnected systems with mental and physical activities, social activity, stress management, awareness of how we fuel the body/mind regarding our food and drink intake, etc.

    We are all different and have different metabolisms, so one thing that works well for someone may not work well for someone else. It is helpful to explore information and KNOW THYSELF, so we can determine what works better for each of us as individuals.

    As Fritzie writes, there is a lot of information available to us if/when we choose to explore more in-depth. There is no guarantee for any of us, and it makes sense to me to be as healthy as possible while navigating the life adventure. I find that the healthier one is, the more possibilities and opportunities are open for us.

    Also, when we are healthy, we have more resources in the body/mind to deal with challenges. For example, medical professionals said that one reason I survived a near fatal injury years ago, was that going into the event, I was in the best physical/emotional condition I had ever been in, which provided resources in the body/mind for healing.
  • Feb 7 2014: They are part of the puzzle and you need to take care of the entire body - exercise all the muscles, including the brain. Need to take care of the total being.
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    Feb 9 2014: All kinds of games if we take them too seriously take us away from reality, from harmless crosswords to all sorts of "helpful" social systems.

    Even if we play for awhile - we need to remember where we are..

    In my opinion a brain is just mind's hardware that can grow enormously if one is very concentrated on artificial mental practicing, like electronic games and alike programs. A mind can become a heavy "bodybuilder" but does not feel alert about where it really is.
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      Feb 12 2014: Vera,
      Why do you say that things "like electronic games and alike programs" are "artificial mental practicing"?
      How or why are they artificial in your perception?
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        Feb 12 2014: I will take a guess from the context and in particular the reference to needing to remember where we are.

        When you are engrossed in a novel, reading Herodotus on the Pelopenesion Wars, or working with a fictional scenario in the context of a game or a simulation and let your imagination take you to that place you may, if the environment is well-crafted, forget for the moment where you really are.

        When you were on the stage, your ensemble likely transported people to a place where they were with your characters in your setting as much as they were in their seats in Fairfax, Vermont.

        The reference to body-building I interpreted differently. That is, people can very well get very good at a skill that has little direct practical use outside of the joy of its exercise.
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          Feb 12 2014: Oh Fritzie, I understand and relate to the idea of getting "lost" in a book, movie, play, game, gardening, or any other project.....I do it all the time.....get so involved in the moment, I forget about time and space:>)

          I am not understanding why one would label games as "artificial mental practicing".
          My question asks....how or why are they artificial in your perception?
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        Feb 12 2014: I wasn't sure either and with you await clarification. I have a feeling an assumption is being made that the skills developed or exercised in the context of games or play cannot be transferred meaningfully to another context and that only exercise in a "real world" context develops the mind usefully.. There may be an assumption here that the neural pathways that are built or reenforced through these activities are not also engaged in a variety of other contexts Or there may be a slightly different assumption that those who engage in such playful activities choose not to operate in other contexts or concern themselves with meaty problems.

        We have some great TED talks representing the other point of view: http://www.ted.com/topics/play
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          Feb 12 2014: Fritzie,
          We could have all kinds of assumptions and speculation.....that's why I asked the question....to be clear, rather than assuming and speculating:>)

          I LOVE the idea of play....good topics.....I call everything my work/play:>)

          To me, it is not "the other point of view". My mom always used to say that laughter, humor and joy are just as serious and important as any other feelings or emotions:>)
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          Feb 13 2014: Fritzie, I very much appreciate your great observation.


          Playfulness is a Vital feature one of the most lively in our human character, but when we play our games they limit our choices - because games have artificial rules - in order to control excited players.

          I prefer to play in my reality - nothing can amuse me so delightfully, or put me down so mercilessly, as my real "moves" in my real situations. I also write a lot (still a no good writer) and this is a very powerful exersize for me - I'd like to be as open as possible with myself.

          People, with whom I spend time, smile and laugh most all the time - they believe I make them laugh and get excited. I guess I get them to be involved and play with real situations, improvise with present moments.


          This might be a good topic. If we are ethical -- can we play by our own rules? I do it in life.

          I wrote a book published a few years ago "The Noble Society" very unique "Utopia" - the unreachable "land" somewhere in the far away future - well, they play all the time - but never compete with anyone, but with themselves... for to reach the highest creativity within themselves..
          They are very artistic and innovative, comical but wise.
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          Feb 13 2014: Fritzie and Vera,
          We seem to agree that playfulness is beneficial to humans, and I do not agree that games limit us in any way. The rules of the game are not artificial....they are real rules which are meant to guide the game so participants understand how to play the game.

          Playing a game IS reality.....that is what we are doing in the moment. For me, it is enjoyable and playful to laugh, talk, and interact with a person while playing a game. I have regular "dates" with a couple people each week. We meet at their house or mine, have lunch, dinner or maybe just snacks, and play scrabble.....it is very pleasurable, and it is part of my reality which I enjoy. These friends are artistic, innovative, comical, very intelligent, wise AND they/we like to play scrabble. I do not understand Vera, why you deny it as reality, and I DO understand that to be your choice and I respect your choice.
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          Feb 13 2014: Whether there is only 1 or 5 right answers - these are created artificially by designers. My very dear friend was one of the pioneers of electronic games and a founder of that "historical" electronic game first journal. He was involved in these all his life, and was writing articles until his recent death. He'd invite me over his house, and we'd sit down and play the new video still unfinished, given to him by the designers for his final critique/advice.

          Speaking in general, the mentality of the questions and answers are in hands of the creators of the game, they cannot be realistic, and compared with reality.

          It is safe and fun for very many people because we can be killed tons of times and go back to action within a second or two.

          That was the time when I clearly comprehended why I never liked to play and compete in any games. My life is too short to know it as it is.
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          Feb 13 2014: Vera,
          You say...."we can be killed tons of times and go back to action within a second or two".

          You are talking about the violent video games? I agree with you that those games are artificial. The question in this conversation is..."Are cognitive games, such as riddles and chess, enough to improve you brain skills and avoid its aging?"

          We have been discussing crossword puzzles and scrabble, which in my perception are VERY different from violent video games.

          If you decided, as you say, that you do not want to participate in any games because of the violent video games, it seems like you are limiting yourself, and that is ok if it is what you choose to do. Based on that information, I now understand what you were referring to with the term "artificial".

          While violent video games seem artificial, I do not perceive anything artificial about participating in games that challenge the mind in a productive way, which is what the author of this conversation is asking.
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        Feb 12 2014: We will wait together.
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        Feb 13 2014: Hello Colleen and Fritzie,
        Sorry, I did not get back to you sooner.

        The main reason for why I think this is only "artificial mental practicing" when we work on puzzles, crosswords and other games - IS THAT - ALL THESE GAMES we do not have any CHOICES BUT only one "Right" answer. In schools or when taking an exam in DMV, we face the same limited tasks - must select only one Right choice. However, the questions themselves, sometimes illogical or simply have mistakes. This kind of "training" does not develop individual thinking and alertness regarding reality.

        In reality we can find at least a few choices and they all might work for us. When we look around and think about what kind of action we shall choose - this experience is the best we can get - we explore all our sense perceptions in coherency, challenged to coordinate ourselves within ever-changing circumstances. This does not happen in school tasks, crosswords or in electronic games. (One of the reasons why very succesfull business people often do not bother with achievements at schools)

        Our physical sense-perceptions (related to brains) are not "designed" for artificial repetitive choices for "yes" or "no". The same answers do not train our minds to think, and find the track #9 3/4 like Harry Potter that would take us to a real place.


        Some people easily feel the same as I do, they better read a book! Well, it may take over all your emotions and attention. But a great book can be a marvelous thing - it does not dictate you what is right or wrong, it makes you think on your own.

        (Please see one more comment)
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          Feb 13 2014: But do electronic games, chess, Go, and Scrabble actually have only one right answer? I don't play these (or do crosswords), so I don't know.
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          Feb 13 2014: No Fritzie, the games DO NOT have only one right answer (except for crossword puzzles).....that is the fun and challenge of playing the games.....there are LOTS of choices and opportunities to be creative:>)

          When my elderly neighbor, who was a wiz at scrabble (a retired teacher), started having memory loss, I changed my game to try to make as few points as possible while setting up places where she could easily play. If I may say so myself, it was very creative, and we still had lots of fun playing:>)

          Yes, of course Vera.....when taking a test or exam, there are usually "right" answers, and that is not what games are about UNLESS one MAKES the game about that for him/herself. I am curious.....have you ever played the games you seemingly do not like? There are LOTS of choices!

          For example, my daughter recently gave me a device on which I can play scrabble....with other people on line, with someone in person, passing the tablet back and forth, or with myself. Once in awhile, I see how fast I can play against the computer, sometimes I take my time and see how many points I can get (have won over the computer, which feels really fun), and it is a great learning experience because there is a "teacher" popping up saying "you could have done this", so I'm learning words that I have never seen before. These are NOT yes or no experiences Vera.

          I am sure there are people who feel as you do Vera, and there are lots of people who enjoy the kind of games you do not like, and that is ok. It is not a choice of reading a book OR playing a game....it can be both, and as a couple of us have suggested on this thread, and as professionals suggest, the important thing for good health, is to have a variety of mental and physical activities.
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        Feb 13 2014: This belongs to my other comment ( about crosswords)

        One interesting example - my brother-in-law, a very shrewd and independent businessman, loved to work on crosswords. Interesting When he was doing it - on a train/subway when he had a lot of money in his pockets and was very tense... he was covering up his alertness . Also he was doing crosswords at home when his wife(my step sister) was non-stop scolding. The reason - he wanted to distract his mind from the irritating, unpleasant situation. He was not doing it for exercising his very sharp mind.
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          Feb 13 2014: Vera,
          You are making a judgment about your brother in law, because we don't really know what is going on in another person's mind.....what their intent is.....what they are getting from an experience....etc. I guess if someone was "non-stop scolding" me, I would engage in another activity too!
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        Feb 13 2014: Dear Colleen, I'm not judging my brother-in-law a bit, he told me himself why he had to make himself look "busy with crosswords" in some circumstances. If I try to share with my own experience here and elsewhere, it does not mean I want to "fix" someone's opinion or change someone's mind. Sharing is very important but I'm aware, we have our own different experiences and truths we see, even when these are similar.

        I'm grateful when you share with me.
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          Feb 13 2014: I am grateful to share with you too Vera:>)

          As I said.....if someone was "non-stop scolding" me, I would probably engage in another activity too:>)
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        Feb 13 2014: I think you are right, Colleen, that when the questioner asks about riddles and games to mitigate the effects of aging, it is unlikely that he/she had violent video games in mind, as those are popular mostly in an entirely different demographic. I would be the first to say that I have no idea of the cognitive demand or range of games of that kind, having no experience with them.

        There have been, however, some outstanding computer learning games for young people, even those that feature imaginary characters, games that focus entirely on logic rather than factual recall.

        In any case, there has been significant research on the potential of various mental recreations to promote brain function and to improve memory. Here is one on crosswords: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8417443

        And here Scrabble: http://www.apa.org/monitor/sep07/sciencewatch.aspx
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        Feb 14 2014: Colleen, I just brought that example (being killed in vedio games and going back to action right after)
        for to say that the awareness at any game is very artificial and far away from our immediate reality.

        This very feeling of the Unreal situation and conditions that scares me away.

        Thiis is my personal choice. When I'm absolutely exhausted from my challenging work - I prefer to read my books, or cook, or the best way for me to rest and revive my mind is to walk - we have these magnificent rugged mountains, very close to my house.

        I do not miss any moment in my life without thinking and feeling where I am, I keep thinking in my dreams.

        Our society, systems, puzzles, crosswords, are all made-up games for me. I suppose, I have this super sensativity toward being controlled by made-up restrictive conditions. I have different tasks to solve in my life but these are created by mighty nature. The answers when these are true, they must be true in my personal existence as well.
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          Feb 14 2014: Vera,
          I understand what you are suggesting, and I do not agree that "any game is very artificial and far away from our immediate reality".

          The author of this conversation asks...."Are cognitive games, such as riddles and chess, enough to improve you brain skills and avoid its aging?"

          Cognitive games such as riddles, crossword puzzles, chess, scrabble and similar games are very different from violent video games, and I believe that the cognitive games are good for our mind, as science and medical professionals recommend.

          I also enjoy books, cooking, gardening, sport activities including hiking the beautiful mountains in my area, and a variety of mental and physical activities is recommended (and enjoyed in my perception),for a balanced life:>)
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        Feb 15 2014: Colleen. I very much respect your way of choosing what to do in your life, I’m sure your life is wonderful.

        I'm only answering the Topic's question. In some cases, including mine, people do not need any games or crosswords at all to train their brains, or revive their memory even when they are aging.

        Speaking In general about that psychology of Games - if someone knows better than myself regarding whatever experience or info, I prefer Not to play games with those experts. I want to hear a Bold Direct Answer, because I have no time to "play" other's games.

        When, as a teen, I was asked to substitute our geometry teacher for 2 weeks the first thing I said to the kids “Please ask and ask again any questions - we are not going to play tests and judge who is stupid, or smart. I’ll answer your question, over and over again, until you will understand and remember.” When our teacher came back we were ahead of the course, almost finished the annual program - in 2 weeks. No tests, we were thinking together based on our naturally developed sense of space which I "used" as our first-hand-primordial internal teacher. it was enormous fun.

        I hope that as I'm aging, as anybody else, I'll still have my personal way to think, and know more by reevaluating my old and new experience.

        I'm still saying ---- that games of any sorts are not at all the best way for aging people to revive their vitality and cognitive abilities.

        The very vitality of our more or less creative minds are getting evolved Not because of human games and mentality, which are mainly training the “muscles” of brains.

        It is Awareness granted by nature that we shall never lose. Without this universal Awareness we'd not survive within the ever-changing world.

        The more artificial systems of all sizes with ready-to-go info, turns, rules and traps we build for ourselves to play with, the more lost we become in this mighty world. No brain-training would ever help.

        Blessings!
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          Feb 15 2014: Could I ask in which decade of life you are? I absolutely understand if you prefer not to answer. I ask only because you write about what you personally don't need to revive your memory even as you are aging.
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          Feb 15 2014: I respect what you choose for your life as well Vera, and I understand your perception of cognitive games. I too am answering the topic question with my perception regarding my personal choices.

          I have not said that anyone needs cognitive games to "revive their memory even when they are aging." In fact, I have said several times, I believe a variety of mental and physical activities contributes to good health, and that is how I have lived my life for well over 60 years. The topic question asks about cognitive games, and that is what I am primarily addressing, because it is the topic question.

          I wholeheartedly agree with you that awareness is important, and in that respect I like to be aware of all available information. A long time ago, when I was young, I played cognitive games because it is fun and challenging.

          I had no idea then about the fact that our brain creates new neural pathways all the time....I had no idea that cognitive challenges like playing scrabble could be beneficial. I simply did it because it was enjoyable, which is still my perception, even with the added information:>)

          If science, because of new information, reversed their belief and decided that cognitive games do not beneficially support brain activity, I would still enjoy the games, and I am very aware that is not your choice:>)
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      Feb 13 2014: Many people are playful in their lives and play by their own rules. Some call it "marching to the beat of their own drummers". Others calling it "drawing outside the lines." A person certainly can be playful and not enjoy competitive games, keeping score, and so forth.

      Your writing will get better if you decide to work on it. I think it is useful to have a few people you trust to give you genuine feedback instead of praising everything.

      It is also valuable to read great contemporary writing in the same language in which you write. Things you read in translation have often lost some of their flavor in translation.
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        Feb 13 2014: "... it is useful to have a few people you trust to give you genuine feedback instead of praising everything." Like your comment but do not have this "luxury" yet.

        Well, I help myself, as my own horrific critic of what I'm doing - this way I'm competing-with-myself while making progress. ( even after my fist book had impressive reviews and praising letters from readers , I wanted to fix/improve something right away in it.) I have enormous tasks to solve -to articulate unheard of ideas which demand a new style to express them.
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        Feb 14 2014: Hello Fritzie. I'm trying to explain this to Colleen, I'm not talking about "violent games" at all! I just brought that example (being killed in vedio games and go back to action right after)
        for to say that the Awareness in any game is very artificial, and far away from our immediate reality.

        This very feeling of the Unreal situation and conditions that scares me away.

        Thiis is my personal choice. When I'm absolutely exhausted from my challenging work - I prefer to read my books, or cook, or the best way for me to rest and revive my mind is to walk - we have these magnificent rugged mountains, very close to my house.

        I do not miss any moment in my life without thinking and feeling where I am, I keep thinking in my dreams.

        Our society, systems, puzzles, crosswords, are all made-up games for me. I suppose, I have this super sensativity toward being controlled by made-up restrictive conditions. I have different tasks to solve in my life but these are created by mighty nature. The answers when these are true, they must be true in my personal existence as well.

        P.S. Some individuals are "cooks", some "consumers" some are both kinds. I'm born to be a "cook" and usually amuze and please others with what I can produce myself.
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          Feb 15 2014: Only that you are not yet in the age bracket when people are typically experiencing signs of mental aging, except in a very few arenas of cognitive activity.
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        Feb 15 2014: I'm looking up at the most brilliant and perceptive people I personally know - one person is in his mid 60s , one is in his 70s, and the most increadable sage with curiosity of an ingenious child, is in his late 80s.

        Throughout history greatest minds commonly published their best work in their late 50s and 60s, probably an "ancient" age for their time.

        There is No Separation for these people between work and rest - the most rewarding and inspirational the most playful and amuzing, disappointing and hard time for them never ends. These minds are never retired.

        Breakdowns happen only when this work is badly interrupted.


        P.S Just to amuze you. I made and served a whole dinner for a couple of my guests tonight, and at the same time was writing these comments, talking to you, Fritzie. This helped my mind to stay in shape :)
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          Feb 15 2014: Many of us multitask regularly in the way you did last night. My computer is on the kitchen counter.

          Simonton wrote the seminal scholarly paper analyzing the extent and quality of work over the lifespan for eminently creative people and did so by discipline. You might take interest in that paper. The peak periods for people to do their greatest work is variable with field, depending on the particular cognitive strengths required. For example mathematicians, theoretical physicists, and lyric poets do their best work earlier in life and historians and philosophers typically late in late. http://resources.emartin.net/blog/docs/AgeAchievement.pdf

          I don't think minds retire for anyone. Retirement may mean setting aside one type of work for other undertakings that may be related to or different from what the person did earlier in life.
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    Feb 5 2014: Most health resources would not claim that such cognitive exercises taken in isolation are any sort of panacea. There are a range of mental and physical activities conducive to good health, including mental health. Physical activity, social activity and connectedness, stress management techniques, learning languages/dancing/reading... limiting alcohol and intoxicants, eating a balanced diet including adequate protein and micronutrients, not getting dehydrated...

    You will find many resources online if you choose to explore this topic in depth.
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    Mar 3 2014: ..
    No, not enough!

    We should do all the activities as we did 10,000 years ago,
    in the conditions the same as in 10,000 years ago.
    So, we should keep our brain smart about 7 times of our development period.
  • Feb 16 2014: No, but sex works pretty good.
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    Feb 6 2014: "The aging of the brain is a matter that affects all people worldwide. On the one hand, it affects them when dealing with matters of life and, on the other hand, it lead to a state of disorientation and feelings of being ill."

    Great truth.

    We shall learn to think on our own within our reality, and keep it this way without the help of artificial "brain" stimulation.
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    Feb 6 2014: GAMES, CHESS, RIDDLES? NO WAY.

    The most profound thinkers we may know throughout our short history lived very long lives for their time. Personal, Original thoughts, live interactions with everchanging nature, and constant learning from new and old experience of all kinds - this is THE KEY.

    It makes sense to get old but only when one learns how to keep improving his/her mind.

    (An Unlearned man isolated in captivity loses his mind very quickly. A learned independently thinking man when isolated in captivity can become more intelligent and wise still thinking on his own.)
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      Feb 9 2014: Hi Lilly Lilly,
      I notice that you are relatively new to TED conversations......welcome!

      I don't think it is necessary to work with puzzles or games every day if we have a variety of activities. Some days I do sport activities, some days socialize with friends, some days do work around the house, and sometimes play board games. I LOVE the variety, and I believe genes contribute to the process as well.

      I agree...we humans DO have a challenge with consistency at times.....that's why I like to have choices with several different interests:>)
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          Feb 9 2014: I hope all your days will be satisfying as well Lilly, and one thing I've noticed over the years, is that life has challenges as well.

          I am not at all "tightly bound" with the puzzle idea Lilly, and as I said, I like exploring various activities.

          I do not agree that "humans are programmed to self destruct by nature". What causes you to think and feel that way?

          Although some people do not recognize the value of a human Lilly, I think many people DO recognize the value of a human, and while cruelty certainly does exist in our world, I also observe lots of people who are compassionate and recognize the value of each other.

          I do not perceive your comment to be a rant, and I appreciate your participation and expression of your thoughts and feelings.....thank you for that.
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          Feb 9 2014: My pleasure Lilly:>)

          I agree.....we live for a certain amount of time, then we die.

          I suggest that we can "stand still" as you say, be calm, and satisfied. At least, that is what I've discovered in myself, and I observe others doing this as well.

          You don't think ANY humans are capable of empathy Lilly? All humans do not connect empathy and profit, or create wars, drink alcohol too much or eat too much, use jewelry too much....and....as you say.....the list goes on. While some people misuse some things in our world, and also misuse people in our world at times, a lot of people DO NOT. I don't believe in blaming some people for the behaviors of others. I don't believe in grouping ALL of humanity in with one judgment.

          I hope all the pieces of your life's puzzle fit with beauty and in the correct spots too Lilly, and as I said in a previous comment, I also am aware that life presents challenges for all of us.
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