header
Deutsch        iTunes Preview

Improve your fluid intelligence with BetterBrain

Fluid intelligence is the ability to reason and solve new problems independently of previously acquired knowledge (see also the reference which shows that the memory task you can train with this program may improve your fluid intelligence). With this iPhone app you can practice the dual n-back training task for this purpose.

What is new in this version?

  • Minor improvements

How to train

When you push the Start button you will see a blue square randomly showing up on a 3 × 3 grid and simultaneously you will hear a random letter. Your objective is to push the Audio button when the letter you heard last was the same letter as the one you heard before the previous one. Your other objective is to push the Visual button when the square you currently see is at the same position as the square you saw before the previous one. BetterBrain in progress

See the example below for a typical sequence of events.

2-back task

Important: You need to detect the same letter or the same position of the square two steps back in the past, not only one! This is called the 2-back task.

Note that you might need to push the Audio- and the Visual button simultaneously - or at least before the next letter is announced respectively the square changes its position.

Your score

A counter in green increases whenever you were right, i.e. you pushed the button when it was necessary. A counter in red increases when you push the button when it was not necessary or you missed pushing it when it was necessary. Your total score is the sum of all green points you earn minus the sum of all errors (red points) you made or zero, whatever is larger.

At the bottom you see the following:

  • Your high score (High)
  • The training step (Step)
  • The success ratio (Ratio) showing the percentage where you gave the correct response
  • The remaining points that can be earned (Left)

Visual feedback

You will get visual feedback on the left part of the screen for the audio portion and on the right part for the visual portion of the training. If you push the correct button you will see a green check-mark flashing while for incorrect button pushes a red cross will briefly show up. You can switch off visual feedback on the Settings screen if you prefer.

Automatically adapting the difficulty (N-back)

If you make only few mistakes, the training will increase in difficulty and you will be required to remember what was the status three steps in the past in order to push the correct buttons. The figure N in the middle indicates that you are currently working on the N-back task. If you make too many mistakes, the training difficulty will decrease automatically. If you prefer to change the difficulty always yourself, you can switch off the automatic adaptation on the Settings screen.

Setting training parameters and channels

You can choose from seven pre-defined training parameter sets with the button bar at the bottom.

You can also enable additional or different training channels and set the timing and length of each training. Furthermore you can change the letters being used. For modifying the general parameters, use the Settings button. For selectively activating channels and assigning them to the buttons, use the Channels button.

You can also set the training parameters and channels by adding an appropriately formatted .plist file to BetterBrain's document section in iTunes. As a sample use BetterBrainSettings.plist which stores the current settings. Note however that you must use a different name which ends with .plist as the name BetterBrainSettings.plist is reserved for the current settings and will be created each time the settings change. Use this feature to conveniently share BetterBrain settings with other BetterBrain users.

Exporting your results

With the Export button on the Settings screen you can email a log of your training sessions to yourself. The log is a table of tab separated values suitable for import to Excel so that you can analyze your training progress in more detail.

You can also copy the log file directly to your computer if you plug in your device to your computer and start iTunes. In the document section for BetterBrain you will find a file with the name betterbrain_export.tsv which you can save to your computer and process further.

Example

Step 1: You see square top left and hear the letter A.
You should touch no button, i.e. nothing.

Step 2: You see square bottom left and hear the letter C.
You should touch no button, i.e. nothing.

Step 3: You see square top left and hear the letter D.
You should touch visual button, i.e. Visual because in step 1 the square was at the same spot but the letter was different.

Step 4: You see square middle right and hear the letter C.
You should touch audio button, i.e. Audio because in step 2 you heard the same letter but the square was at a different spot.

Step 5: You see square top left and hear the letter D.
You should touch audio and visual button, i.e. Audio and Visual because in step 3 the square was at the same spot and you heard the same letter.

Step 6: You see square bottom left and hear the letter C.
You should touch audio button, i.e. Audio because in step 4 you heard the same letter.

Step 7: You see square middle right and hear the letter A.
You should touch no button, i.e. nothing because in step 5 the square was at a different spot and you heard a different letter.

Settings

BetterBrain settings

Use the settings screen to individually define the training parameters for the current level which is displayed at the top right of the screen. This allows you to put together seven training programs according to your needs. You can manage the channels using the Channels screen.

  • N-back determines how far in the past you need to go. 2 is the standard (2-back task) where you need to remember the status before the previous one, i.e. two steps back in the past. Increasing the look-back delta increases the difficulty of this training significantly. The maximum n-back value is 20.
  • When Feedback is on, visual feedback is given for each correct, incorrect or missed button push. Otherwise feedback is only provided via scoring.
  • When Random is on, the chosen values in the activated channels are uniformly randomly distributed. Otherwise a random distribution is chosen that guarantees that no consecutive values are identical and also favors repeats.
  • When Automatic N-back is on, the automatic switching of the look-back (N-back) delta based on your performance is enabled. Otherwise the look-back (N-back) delta does not change automatically.
  • Seconds per step determines the delay in seconds between successive steps. In the field you can set a new value.
  • Seconds per flash determines the time in seconds for which the visual stimulus (letter within a square, color of a square, position of a square, shape) will be presented. In the field you can set a new value.
  • Points to earn determines how many points you can earn at this level. In the field you can set a new value.
  • Default letter determines which letter is spoken if the Audio channel is off but the Position channel is activated. In the field you can set a new letter.
  • Audio letters determines which letters are spoken if the Audio channel has been activated. In the field you can define the set of letters.
  • Organ letters determines the tones to choose from if the Organ channel has been activated. You can use the letters C, D, E, F, G, A, H and I which represent the respective notes. C is C3 and I stands for C4, which is an octave higher than C3.
  • Visual letters determines which letters are shown if the Letter channel has been activated. In the field you can define the set of letters.
  • Reset high score resets the high score earned so far.
  • Export allows you to email the log file of your training session.
  • Reset export resets the log file. Typically you reset the log after a successful export.
  • The volume slider changes the volume of the spoken letters.

With the Show button you can display various leaderboards and your achievements. With the Reset score button you can reset the high score and / or your achievements. BetterBrain Leaderboards BetterBrain Achievements

If you want the changes to the settings to become effective, push the Save button. If you want to restore the standard settings for this level, press the Default button. Otherwise press Cancel to return to the training screen without any changes to the settings. For example, if you have accidentally reset the high score or the log, just press the Cancel button and your old high score is still valid respectively the log is unchanged.

Channels

On this screen you can activate the audio- resp. video stimulus channels for the current level which is displayed at the top right corner. You activate a channel by dragging the corresponding label to an empty button slot. You deactivate a channel by dragging its label out of the button slot. The meaning of of the channels is as follows:

Audio Channels

  • Audio - you hear random letters from the set you have chosen under Audio letters on the Settings screen. This is the standard audio channel.
  • Position - you hear the sound randomly on your left, in the middle or on your right.
  • Organ - you hear musical notes from the set you have chosen under Organ letters in the Settings screen.

Visual Channels

  • Visual - you see a square randomly showing up in eight positions. This is the standard visual channel.
  • Letter - you see a square with a random letter from the set you have chosen under Visual letters on the Settings screen.
  • Color - you see a square randomly getting one of four colors.
  • B-Shape - you see a square with a random picture, potentially in eight positions. B-Shape stands for Button-Shape.
  • C-Shape - similar to B-Shape, but the square is in the middle of the screen and cannot move. C-Shape stand for Center-Shape.
For example by activating Color and Visual, you can create a purely visual oriented training session. Selectively turning on just one channel helps you practice a specific skill before you combine it with other channels. In the standard setting, only Audio and Visual are turned on.

If you want the changes to the channels to become effective, push the Save button. If you want to restore the standard settings for this level, press the Default button. Otherwise press Cancel to return to the training without any changes to the channels. BetterBrain channels

Reference

Susanne M. Jaeggi, Martin Buschkuehl, John Jonides, and Walter J. Perrig: Improving fluid intelligence with training on working memory

Gestures

In the Settings application of your device in the BetterBrain section you can turn on Gestures Enabled. With this option you can swipe horizontally (left or right) with one finger to go to resp. leave the respective info screen. A vertical swipe (up or down) with one finger takes you from the training screen to the settings screen resp. will save your settings and take you back to the training screen. A vertical swipe (up or down) with two fingers takes you from the training screen to the channels screen. Pinching out resp. in transitions between a screen and its corresponding info screen. Gestures are disabled on the channels screen to avoid interference with the drag and drop functionality.

iCloud

In the Settings application of your device in the BetterBrain section you can turn on Settings in iCloud. This will store your settings and channel assignments in your iCloud and the application will preferably use these values on all your devices associated with this iCloud. BetterBrain settings application

Troubleshooting

In case audio does not work, do the following:

  • Perform a restart of your device by powering it off and on again. This typically solves the problem. Otherwise:
  • Make sure that audio works in principle by trying it out in other applications.
  • Check on the Channels screen that you have selected an audio channel and on the Settings screen that the volume is not zero. When you change the volume slider you should hear the default letter (typically A unless you have changed it).
  • In some cases earphones work while the built-in speaker does not.