We’ve all heard or seen the ads making claims like, “Download our scientific app and play our brain games! They’ll improve your memory and actually improve your brain power over time.” I’d often thought about downloading one of those apps and trying it out. Wouldn’t hurt right? Wrong. It would hurt your pocketbook, but wouldn’t help your brain at all, according to Johns Hopkins Professor of Neuroscience David Linden. What would help is exercise, he tells Terry Gross, of NPR’s “Fresh Air”.
I was pre-teen in the early 1980s. The 1980s was the decade of the Rubik’s Cube. It was everywhere. I was in India at the time, and people over there were as nuts about it as people in Europe and the US. Kids all over the world were experiencing the thrill of solving it. But not I. I had a book that described how to solve the cube, but it did a really poor job of describing the seemingly arbitrary algorithms required. Even though I could solve a single side by myself, I couldn’t solve the entire cube without having the book open in front of me, following its complex directions.