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Fixing Attention
July 2, 2008 2:13 PM   Subscribe

RoboMemo is a video game that can train the distraction out of children.

The Concept of Working Memory
posted by anotherpanacea (22 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ok, going to start playing this, will let you know when I'm cured of my ADD.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 2:28 PM on July 2, 2008


Is it bad that I read part of the article, watched part of the video for adults, glanced over the main web page, then came back here to make this comment, all while eating a sandwich? Also I looked over two other FPPs while writing this comment.
posted by Caduceus at 2:37 PM on July 2, 2008


But for all that, attention remains one of the most poorly understood human faculties. Neither a subject nor a skill, precisely, attention is often seen as a fixed, even inborn faculty that cannot be taught. Children with attention problems are medicated; harried adults struggle to "pay attention."
Well, naturally. Naturally. Prolonged, sustained, focused attention is a good way to get dead quick at the water hole or on the savannah, concentrating so exclusively that you don't notice the predator sneaking up behind you. Sustained attention makes sense only when you're the predator, and only in what are essentially special circumstances.

Of course, in the modern human ecosystem, it's all different. But those of us (I include myself) capable of prolonged sustained attention would have been lion-meat during most of human evolution. So it should be hard to create sustained attention, it should be as hard to prevent "attention saccades" as it is to prevent physical saccades of the eyes, and for the same reasons. Evolution until about 5000 years ago, payed off a lot more for shifting saccading distraction than for prolonged attention.
posted by orthogonality at 2:41 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is a certainly a very interesting idea, especially considering the modern academic environment and it... OH MY GOD ICE CREAM TRUCK IS HERE DOES ANYONE HAVE A FEW BUCKS???????? KITTY!!!!!!
posted by fuq at 2:42 PM on July 2, 2008


ooh, a penny!
posted by sunshinesky at 2:47 PM on July 2, 2008


I WANT TO TRAIN THE DISTRACTION OUT OF ME

Whereupon I will be unstoppable
posted by everichon at 2:58 PM on July 2, 2008


fighting the urge to let myself be distracted by this when I should be working
posted by contraption at 3:10 PM on July 2, 2008


I thought it was a little boring at first but now that I've got it running on six different machines at once I'm really feeling it.
posted by The Straightener at 3:14 PM on July 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


What does it mean to have an attention problem, anyways? Is it an attention problem if I spend my time in math class intently working on a drawing of a futuristic building?
posted by Citizen Premier at 3:23 PM on July 2, 2008


Contact the Cogmed Qualified Practice of your choice to learn more about Cogmed Working Memory Training and how to get started.

So it's not actually something I can download and look at or even purchase, just some promotional videos and an offer to go to a "Qualifed Practice"?
posted by markr at 3:29 PM on July 2, 2008


It's an attention problem if you spend time in your math class intently working on a drawing of a future building, then, in the future, get flunked out of architecture school because you cannot properly calculate the stresses on various parts of the building you once drew.
posted by adipocere at 3:31 PM on July 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


And that wasn't meant as a snark, my wife is a paediatric OT and works extensively with kids with attention problems and I thought it might be something she'd be interested in, but since she's not a "licensed psychologist or medical doctor" they aren't even interested in selling their system to her as a provider.
posted by markr at 3:32 PM on July 2, 2008


Does a kid who can play a single game for hours really have an attention problem? Or do the lectures that they are supposed to sit through have an engagement problem?
posted by ulotrichous at 3:51 PM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


So it's not actually something I can download and look at or even purchase, just some promotional videos and an offer to go to a "Qualifed Practice"?

I want to play it, too. I'm thinking that enough web attention (sorry) could make them offer it online. But knowing it's out there, and that it seems to work, is actually something I'm pretty excited about.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:10 PM on July 2, 2008


I want to distract the train out of me.

so that I can ride that train to the county fair
posted by davejay at 4:45 PM on July 2, 2008


This seems like Brain Age without the happy Japanese man.
posted by subbes at 5:03 PM on July 2, 2008


Another reason to bring back Dodgeball. Pay attention or you get hit in the face. Worked wonders for me.
posted by Mr_Zero at 7:06 PM on July 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Speaking as someone who eats a handful of Concerta every morning I'd like to raise a simple question. What the fuck?

The computer game I used to be really into was Civilization. This would be great if I had to remember the sequence on numbers backwards, put down the revolt on the rotating disks and oh, yeah, the 2-D grid is is working on a library but they already have a library, now that would be a video game. Given that I've beaten Civ on deity level (Note: once. Some luck was involved.) I'm not thinking that training up my working memory is going to do much for my distractibility.

What I need is a video game that is going to make me more able to not want to stand on my desk and screw, "Will you people just shut up so I can think!" at everyone else in my overcrowded office area when I'm trying to wordsmith a report that no one in the world is ever going to want to read, particularly me!
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:00 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


When I was a kid I would focus so intently on what I was doing that my Mom would have to call, yell, then physically grab my arm before I even recognized she was there.

Yet I watched their little video, immediately became distracted after about 20 seconds. I couldn't even finish it. It is a very boring video game, probably being sold for lots of $$$ to gullible professionals.

Is this the next "Baby Einstien" fad? If you are intent on a computer to help out a child's brain, then Brain Age, Squeek, or any video game that requires some planning and thinking would be a better investment.
posted by eye of newt at 8:06 PM on July 2, 2008


Squeak, not squeek.
posted by eye of newt at 8:08 PM on July 2, 2008


1. Locate the hosts file on your machine.
2. Add a line that says "127.0.0.1 www.metafilter.com" to that file.
3. ???
4. Oh, wait.
posted by effbot at 12:52 AM on July 3, 2008


Evolution until about 5000 years ago, payed off a lot more for shifting saccading distraction than for prolonged attention.

I wonder if there isn't a connection between your observation and the cannabinoid receptors built into the human brain.

Also, it seems that research has shown that humans are pretty awful at multitasking, and those who claim to do it are more interrupt driven than true parallel processors.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 5:12 AM on July 3, 2008


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