Can Machines Have Feelings?

Robot with Feeling

Of course not is the intuitive and immediate answer that this question would most likely get. But let’s not be so fast. There is a field in computing called Affective Computing whose goal is to create machines that can detect and interpret human emotions. It uses the appraisal theory of emotions as its guide. This theory is one of the most influential theories of emotions and it is able to bridge the gap between emotions and the symbolic reasoning process favored by the builders of artificial intelligence (AI).

Appraisal Theory

According to the Appraisal Theory, humans determine how they feel about a certain event and entity using a series of template evaluation process. First, we evaluate how novel or familiar something is. Then, we weigh how likely it is to cause a positive or a negative experience in congruence with our goals. Then we evaluate our coping potential: can we influence and control it, can we change it in ways that makes it beneficial to us. Our brains ultimately translate this series of evaluations into a certain feeling towards the event or entity. If it is something familiar, pleasant, reasonably controllable, and congruent with our goals, we are likely to experience positive emotions towards it. If it is something new, unpleasant, out of control, and incongruent with our goals, we are likely to hate it.

So What Does This Mean For Machines?

If the emotional process can be broken down into a series of evaluations with more or less binary outcomes (novel/familiar, controllable/uncontrollable, etc.), then these operations can be performed not just by a human but by a machine too. If we could develop algorithms parallel to the process human brains use to make decisions about familiarity, valence, controllability, and goal congruence, the process through which an emotion is created can be performed by a machine.

Admittedly, we are a long way from the moment when a machine will feel happy or scared, but the Appraisal Theory of emotions provides a roadmap for how we can teach machines to process human emotions.

Stay tuned to learn how machines can learn to detect and interpret human emotions.

Want To Exercise Your Own Emotional & Cognitive Intelligence?

Fit Brains Games

In the meantime, exercise all the areas of your brain with Fit Brains fun and stimulating brain games. Challenge memory, speed of thinking and more today.

TRY FREE BRAIN GAMES NOW

Do Your Brain A Favor And Quit Your Job!

How a new job can give your brain a boost!

Quit your job! Quit your job? Bold advice, but according to some experts, it might be what your brain needs!  However, before you start picturing yourself in sweatpants with a remote in hand, the story does not end by quitting your job only to laze away your days. Sorry to disappoint. Let’s rephrase this.  Quit your job and get a different job!  But wait, why should I quit a job that I know how to do and am perfectly good at only to have to learn a new job?  Because doing something new and challenging for your brain is good for it.

A recent article published in The Atlantic Magazine, presents the case for how quitting your job in order to challenge yourself with a new job that comes with new training and new skills can help keep your brain challenged and stimulated, which is good for your brain (and your satisfaction with life in general) in the long run.  While it sounds intimidating (not to mention a lot of work to quit one job only to find another one), according to the article, “But, if you want to thrive in the years ahead, a new challenge, and a new purpose, may be the things your brain needs most.” (Hagerty, 2016) Experts suggest that for many adults, this challenge and purpose can come from their job.

Don’t have a job?  Learning a new skill in general, or taking up a new hobby are other ways you can keep your brain active, challenged and engaged!  Tennis lessons, piano lessons, or a new language, are just a few examples of hobbies that can give you a new lease on life and stimulate your brain too.

Fit Brain’s own Dr. Paul Nussbaum is one expert interviewed for the article.  The author writes, “Paul Nussbaum, a neuropsychologist and co-founder of the brain-training company Fit Brains, notes that after you have mastered a skill, be it balancing the company’s books or (in my case) writing a four-minute radio story, that skill becomes ‘overly learned.’” Nussbaum acknowledges the challenge and stress that can come with learning a new skill, but reassures that “Soon, however, you will develop new neural circuits, and your brain will thank you for the effort.” (Hagerty, 2016)  

So, even if you aren’t inspired to quit your job just yet, we hope this can inspire you to find a way to keep purpose and challenge in your life.  You’ll feel better and so will your brain!   And, if you want to challenge and entertain your brain with much less commitment, try a FREE TRIAL of Fit Brains fun brain games!  Fit Brains games will give your brain “smart” entertainment. Challenge your Memory, Focus, Logic, Speed of Thinking, Language and Visual-Spatial Recognition skills with a Fit Brains FREE TRIAL!

GET MY FIT BRAINS FREE TRIAL

Fit Brains

“Brain Training Success”

Reference: Hagerty, Barbara Bradley. (2016) “Quit Your Job”. The Atlantic Magazine. 317(3), 22-24.

Introducing Our New, Fun Brain Game, Guess Who!

We’re excited to introduce our brand new brain game, Guess Who! Delight and challenge your memory! Even better, Guess Who is an exclusive PREMIUM game but to celebrate, you get to play for FREE for 2 weeks!  Start your adventure now!

Week1_guess_who_577x439

How to Play Guess Who?

Memorize these names and faces. Can you remember these faces and set the top score? Play on any web browser at Fitbrains.com or train-on-the-go with our app. This fun memory game will stimulate your ability to remember faces and the names, an important skill for networking and socializing with others.

So what are you waiting for?

Try Fit Brains new Guess Who game today. Sign up for our FREE TRIAL or login to your account!  You’ll have fun while you stimulate your brain and exercise your memory skills!  Don’t wait, Guess Who is only free to play through March 25th!

TRY GUESS WHO FOR FREE NOW

Fit Brains “Brain Training Success”

Your Brain. It’s what your Valentine wants most!

Week2FEBblog2_vdaypost

Your Brain In Love

Valentine’s Day. Love or loath it? Whatever your feelings are, they come from your brain and not your heart! That’s right, when you are attracted to someone it’s really driven by chemicals in your brain!  

At first, the sex chemicals testosterone and estrogen kick off what we call “lust” for someone.

A trifecta of brain chemicals affect your mood: dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Dopamine, the feel-good, can’t-get-enough, neurotransmitter gets released during the initial ‘I met someone, ooh you’re kinda cute’ stage. The heart racing, butterflies in your stomach, palms sweating early dating phase is due to norepinephrine. It’s responsible for infatuation and excitement. Ever found yourself thinking about your love interest 24/7? That’s due to serotonin.

And when we fall in love, dopamine gets released and makes you crave your love interest. The part of the brain that lights up with cocaine addiction, also lights up with love. It’s no wonder star-crossed lovers are willing to die for each other! In fact, the love drive is stronger than the sex drive! Love is addictive but like drugs, the love high becomes less strong over time. That’s why people can also fall out of love after a few months.  If you do stay together you can thank the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin, which when released can make you feel more attached and committed to your partner.

Did you know your brain can also be one of your most attractive assets when you are trying to find that perfect partner?

For all you single men out there, most women want their other half to be equally intelligent, according to an annual Singles in America survey. No mimbos wanted. And, men also want a partner who’s smart and ambitious.  So, forget primping and priming for Valentine’s day. Instead, let your brain do its thing for you!

Need some extra brain stimulation to impress that Valentine?  If you need to give your brain some extra challenge and entertainment, try Fit Brains fun brain games!  And, you can take advantage of our special Valentine’s offer of 60% off a premium subscription, including gifts! 

With Fit Brains you get:

* 50+ fun, addictive (in a good way) games
* 20 Web ONLY games available on Fitbrains.com
* Emotional intelligence training in addition to cognitive training
* Personalized workouts anytime, anywhere

BUY NOW AT 60% OFF!

The Fit Brains Team

“Brain Training Success”

 

 

 

Introducing a new Brain Game, Secret Symbols!

Secret Symbols new game

We are excited to introduce our brand new brain training game, Secret Symbols!  Have fun while you challenge your brain’s ability to maintain focus and attention!  Even better, Secret Symbols is a PREMIUM game but to celebrate its launch we are making it FREE to play for a limited time!  From now through February 15, you can get a free pass at exercising your focus and attention with our latest game!

How to Play Secret Symbols?

To play this game, find the one unique symbol among the other shapes. To succeed in this game you need to be able to identify inconsistencies, and focus on the most important information at hand.  And, don’t forget, speed counts too! How fast do you think you can find the unique symbol?

game-secret-symbols

 

 

 

 

 

So what are you waiting for?

Try Fit Brains new Secret Symbols game today when you sign up for our  FREE TRIAL!  You’ll have fun while you stimulate your brain and exercise your focus and attention skills!  Don’t delay, Secret Symbols is free to play through February 15!

TRY SECRET SYMBOLS FOR FREE NOW

Fit Brains “Brain Training Success”

Improve your brain health with the MIND diet

Woman eating fruit saladWhen most people hear the word “diet” they probably tend to think “difficult” or “impossible”, but most of us probably don’t expect that a diet is going to be easy to follow!  A diet is something we do because it’s good for us and we want to make some change in our health or our appearance, but not generally because it’s fun and easy.  That is about to change, thanks to the new MIND diet (short for Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay).  

This diet is reportedly tied for first place as the easiest diet to follow, according to US News & World Report. (US News & World Report, 2015).  Like the name suggests, this is a diet that is also good for your brain, and is specifically designed to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.  In a study at the Rush University Medical Center, scientists found that “…the MIND diet lowered Alzheimer’s risk by about 35 percent for people who followed it moderately well and up to 53 percent for those who adhered to it rigorously.” (US News & World Report, 2015)  

A diet that can improve your brain health, help prevent Alzheimer’s AND is the easiest diet to follow?

So what exactly is the MIND diet?

It is a combination of the popular Mediterranean diet (think primarily plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole grains), and the DASH diet (again, emphasis on fruits and vegetables, no dairy).

Specifically, according to a report in US News & World Report, “The emphasis is on eating from 10 brain-healthy food groups: green leafy vegetables in particular, all other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine.”  With this diet you’ll need to “avoid foods from the five unhealthy groups: red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheeses, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.”

So, even if “diet” didn’t make your list of 2016 resolutions, this is one that won’t be hard to follow and is well worth it for better brain health!

Whether or not you decide to try the MIND diet, you can try playing brain games just to challenge yourself by playing fun games!  Have fun while you give your brain some exercise! And, Fit Brains has more games and more variety than any other brain training program.  Give Fit Brains a try today!

GET MY FIT BRAINS FREE TRIAL

Please share our post!

And, follow us throughout the year to learn more about how to improve your brain health and maximize your potential in 2016!

Fit Brains. “Brain Training Success”

Source: “MIND Diet”. US News & World Report. 2015. Retrieved from http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/mind-diet

Fit Brains’ Dr. Nussbaum Talks the Brain and Emotions

laughterRecently, Fit Brains Chief Science Officer, Dr. Paul Nussbaum, shared the exciting news about Fit Brains’ new Emotional Intelligence program with Boot Camp’s Technology Correspondent, Fred Fishkin.  This blog post is dedicated to sharing Dr. Nussbaum’s perspective on Emotional Intelligence and Fit Brains’ role in bringing Emotional Intelligence to the forefront of brain training!

According to Dr. Nussbaum, Emotional Intelligence is “a fascinating part of who we are.”   But, did you know that until very recently Emotional Intelligence is an area of the brain that has been largely ignored by scientists and health experts?  However, Emotional Intelligence is actually an extremely important brain function!

Without emotional control, people are unable to appropriately express emotions, read other people’s emotions, and make decisions accordingly.  It may sound simple, but it’s actually pretty complicated and something that none of us should take for granted.  In the words of Dr. Nussbaum, “Imagine how much better the world could be if we were all better at expressing our emotions and recognizing others’ emotions!”  Of course world peace would be at the top of our list, but even just think of how much easier it could be to get along with a difficult family member, co-worker, you name it!

If you are still wondering about the important role of Emotional Intelligence, take as an example the effect that injuries from high impact sports can have on your brain.  Football is one of the most common examples.  When most of us think of brain injuries that are common to football players, we probably mostly think of purely cognitive brain issues, like poor memory or even dementia.  However, one of the most interesting findings that Dr. Nussbaum relayed during the interview is that one of the primary problems facing football players is the toll that the game takes on one’s emotional control and how this impacts daily functioning.  Stories of violence, abuse and depression are all too common, and hindered emotional control has much to do with this.

So how can you prime your brain for stronger emotional control and intelligence?  According to Nussbaum, “Fit Brains has done a great job to build the ingredients of an app that goes after the emotional system and helps people work on that.”  

Dr. Nussbaum recommends Emotional training as a lifelong pursuit and suggests even starting as young as age six.  “The younger age the better.  Six and Seven is not too young to begin doing these things. Brain health is a lifelong pursuit. The brain doesn’t know how old it is- it just wants to be stimulated.” (Makes sense, huh?)

If you haven’t yet, try Fit Brains new Emotional Intelligence games today!  They are fun and free to try.

Fit Brains

“Brain Training Success”