Free Brain-Training Game Claims To Improve Your Memory

I'm quite a fan of those brain-training games that you often see advertised in magazines and on the TV.  If you are too, here's one for your PC which is free to download and use.  It's called N-Back, and you can get it from  It runs on all recent versions of Windows, and the download is 10 MB.

The object of the game is simple, but playing it isn't so easy!  Each game lasts around a minute.  During this time, every 3 seconds or so, a blue square flashes up on the board for a short time (see illustration below) and, though your PC speakers, you'll hear a nice lady read out a random letter of the alphabet from A to Z.

All you have to do is as follows.  If the position of the blue square is the same as it was last time, ie a few seconds ago, press the "A" key to indicate a position match.  Alternatively, if the letter dictated by the nice lady is the same as last time, that signifies an audio match so press the "L" key instead.  That's all there is to it.

The game is called N-Back because the key to playing it is to remember what happened in the past, ie 1, 2 or 3 events back.  When you first start the game, N is set to 2, meaning that you actually need to remember what happened 2 events ago.  If you're new to the game, you'll find this impossible, so start by changing N to 1.  The web site contains full instructions on how to do this.

Apparently, minds cleverer than mine reckon that you can improve your short-term memory by playing this game for around 20 minutes, 4 or 5 times a week.  A pretty good result for a free app, so long as you remember to keep playing!



My thanks to Keith Harvey for alerting me to this fascinating Hot Find.



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by GreatGrandDad (not verified) on 2. February 2011 - 5:03  (65676)

I guess I need this. Thank you for posting it now. Lately I've noticed that I've started having short-term memory lapses, and also that I've started having short-term memory lapses.

by Bloghard (not verified) on 1. February 2011 - 14:18  (65625)

If you live in a house with I do.
I leave a note pad at the bottom of the stairs to make a note of
why I was intending to go upstairs...
The addition of a carbon copy taken with me is always helpful for
referring to once I have alighted at the top of the stairs..

Of course, people that live in Bungalows would not have this problem,
unless that is. the trip to the garden shed included obstacles such as doors, steps and certain weather conditions.
In this case. Use the same method as afore mentioned.

If this fails. Sack your home help. and arrange for a visit from the memory clinic...

Regards Bloghard

by Russ (not verified) on 29. January 2011 - 23:02  (65475)

Good one guys. I don't care about the memory thing, I got a good laugh out of your comments.

by jabbamp on 28. January 2011 - 11:54  (65367)

Dammit, I'm hooked!

by Helen Edwards (not verified) on 28. January 2011 - 10:52  (65363)

I enjoyed this, thanks. I don't care whether it helps my memory or not, it was just fun.

by Chim Bon (not verified) on 28. January 2011 - 10:25  (65362)

Unfortunately I haven't being able to download it from its page. Will try later...

by fireball_xl5 on 28. January 2011 - 9:04  (65353)

I read your e-mail, went downstairs to get a cup of coffee and when I got back to my pc I couldn't remember where I'd read about the game.....

by MidnightCowboy on 28. January 2011 - 10:23  (65361)

Thanks for stealing the post I was just about to make :)
Now if only I could remember where the delete button is? :D

by Consternation (not verified) on 28. January 2011 - 14:58  (65372)

What's a delete button???

by MidnightCowboy on 28. January 2011 - 15:32  (65374)

Something which as an admin you can press and make comments disappear :)

by Festeron (not verified) on 30. January 2011 - 20:50  (65540)

And something that truly exists, since it was used to delete a comment of mine earlier in this thread.

by MidnightCowboy on 31. January 2011 - 6:05  (65557)

Comments may be deleted for a variety of reasons which are clearly explained in the site rules.

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