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Monthly Cognitive Training Challenge: Working Memory Output Gating Training

by 100IQ Win The Knowledge


Well-designed brain training apps target the the ‘atomic’cognitive functions and processes within our brain’s ‘central processor’ – sometimes called executive processes. These core functions are shown in the ‘cognitive elements’ model below.

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IQ Mindware apps are designed to target different elements for different cognitive functions. Today we’ll be looking at targeting fluid intelligence (Gf).

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Executive processes trained selectively by IQ Mindware apps

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Working memory (the light grey box) is our mental workspace – the information we can hold in mind at any given moment in time to reason, solve problems, make decisions,  comprehend and learn. Input gating is what information our attention selects for this workspace, focusing, operating and disengaging is what we do with the information in the workspace under attentional control, and output gating is what we make use of from this information processing to guide our decisions and actions. ‘Mindware’ is the  rules and strategies we make use of to guide our thinking.
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Fluid intelligence is the ‘hub’ of the different ‘broad abilities’ of intelligence measured by IQ tests and other types of cognitive performance test – as shown here.

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Fluid intelligence processes overlap with all the other types of ‘multiple intelligence’. If your training results in neuroplasticity changes in fluid intelligence (Gf) you are training the core network of your overall intelligence.
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G and Gf
Fluid intelligence overlaps with other broad factors of IQ

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This month’s challenge is to try to complete at least 20 sessions of training on with the following settings to improve your fluid intelligence (Gf).

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I am assuming that you have first reached at least a 2-back level with the classic dual n-back game mode. This is essential background practice for this challenge.

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For the challenge, when you set up a new Profile on your HighIQPro app, deselect the tests – unless you want to measure your IQ before and after the challenge – in which case select IQ tests in the HRP Track app. And deselect the tutorials for this challenge when you set up your Profile.

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Training Setting 1

First select at least 1G mode (you could also try 2G or 2G+, but what is critical for this challenge is at least 1G which trains working memory output gating (as show in the ‘cognitive elements’ model above).

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Output gating training
Output gating training

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Working memory output gating mechanisms (in your prefrontal cortex) are critical for learning and applying complex, context-dependent rules – processes that are central to Gf.

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“output gating is specifically at the root of the developmental change in higher order rule use…..training-induced increase in cognitive flexibility is… mediated by more efficient output gating of abstract rule representations that support generalization, learning and fluid reasoning.” (Unger and colleagues, 2016)

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Training Settings 2 & 3

Next – switch on the interference control and hand switching options, shown below. These enable you to selectively train disengaging in the cognitive elements model above.

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Disengagement Training
Disengagement working memory training

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Applying fluid intelligence can be though of as ‘offline’ reasoning and hypothesis testing – such as when you solve matrices IQ tests, and you try to figure out the underlying rules in the patterns.

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“In the realm of problem solving (Gf), high working memory capacity allows a person to represent and maintain a problem accurately and stably, so that ‘hypothesis testing’ can be conducted. However, as hypotheses are disproven or become untenable, disengaging from outdated problem solving attempts becomes important so that new hypotheses can be generated and tested.” (ref)

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In terms of ‘cognitive elements’ model that IQ Mindware app training is based on, working memory capacity depends relatively more on the focus function while fluid intelligence depend relatively more the on the disengagement function – e.g. clearing from your mind any hypotheses that you have thought through but ruled out as you think through a problem. This is shown in the diagram from this 2018 review of working memory and fluid intelligence below:

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Gf and disengagement
Working memory capacity vs fluid intelligence (Gf)

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The upgraded HighIQPro (released March 2019) incorporates the principles of Gf-CODE training. 

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This upgrade has improved output gating  (compared to the original gated dual n-back) and allows you to set your own n-back level.

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This desktop/laptop app comes with links to valid pre and post-training fluid intelligence and working memory IQ tests, and we guarantee a 10-20 point IQ increase as a result of training.

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For training the information processing elements of the Gf-CODE specific to fluid intelligence (Gf) select the following settings after first getting familiar with standard dual n-back training:

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1. Interference control ON (for disengage training)

2. Game mode 1G, 2G or 2G+ (for output gating) which is a function closely related to fluid intelligence and higher level learning, just like disengagement in working memory is.

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