Discover the Brain Benefits of Labor Day!

Man Working His Brain on Labor Day

Why your brain celebrates labor every day! It’s almost Labor Day, the unofficial end to summer, and by some reports, hot dog season. But we’re celebrating anyway! Aside from the positive contributions that workers of all kinds have given our society, work is good for your brain. Doing something new and challenging, like your work, benefits your mind. Fit Brain’s own Dr. Paul Nussbaum acknowledges the challenge and stress that can come with learning a new skill at work, but reassures that “You will develop new neural circuits, and your brain will thank you for the effort.” You will benefit the most if you try to continually challenge yourself by trying new tasks and learning new ways of doing things.

Even if you aren’t employed, learning a new skill or taking up a new hobby are other ways you can keep your mind active, challenged and engaged! Music lessons, sports, 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.

Fun Fit Brains Games for the Brain

And, if you want to challenge and entertain your mind play Fit Brains fun games. Fit Brains games will give your brain “smart” entertainment.

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The Fit Brains Team

“Brain Training Success”

 

Emotions: Can Machines Understand Them?

Many People Feeling Emotion

The short answer is that they could understand emotions if equipped with the proper sensors and algorithms.

Physiological Components of Emotions
Emotions always have a physiological component. When we feel excited our heart rate changes, skin conductance increases, facial expressions exaggerate. Many physical and physiological signatures of emotional states have been well studied and classified. For example, the facial action coding system developed by Paul Ekman have been used to detect emotion by computer scientists since the 1970s.

Today the advances in photography and affective computing made possible the development of more accurate automated face analysis. This is how it works. 1) The machine “attends” to the facial signals through automated face detection and registration, and “receives” facial signals with high speed cameras. 2) The next step is extracting key signals. In facial expression recognition, the signal components are called Action Units (AU), or the movement changes of individual facial muscles. The machine does this through a variety of algorithms such as principal component analysis, linear discriminant analysis, and support vector machine classifiers. 3) Based on the specific combination of AU, the machine concludes an emotion experienced by the recorded facial expression.

For example, pain is characterized by brow lowering (AU4), orbital tightening (AU6 and 7), eye closure (AU43), nose wrinkling and lip raise (AU9 and 10). After going through the preceding steps and detecting the changes in these Action Units the machine will conclude that the person experiences pain.

Other Key Factors
Physiological changes such as tone of voice, body movements, heart rate and more can be measured with biometric sensors. Many devices already have these sensors and collect the data. The algorithms to analyze this data and make conclusions about emotions are already developed. It’s just a matter of time before machines will actively read our emotions and use this information in ways we hope will benefit us.

The Fit Brains Team

“Brain Training Success”

Introducing Our Latest Game: Highest Bid!

Man Playing Game

We’re excited to introduce our latest fun game, Highest Bid! And, we’re celebrating our launch by giving you FREE access for a limited time to this exclusive PREMIUM web game. From now through July 31st, you can play for free. It’s part of our Premium collection of speed of thinking games. You’ll love Highest Bid and your results! Play for free now.

Fit Brains Games

1. How to Play
Your challenge: Can you spot the highest bids in the quickest time? Select the numbers greater than the highest bid value. The bid value changes quickly so stay sharp!

2. What You’ll Train
This game stimulates your brain to recognize and process information quickly, challenging you to make quick, informed decisions.

Ready for Your Challenge?

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The Fit Brains Team

“Brain Training Success”

Boost Your Focus: Here’s 1 Easy Way!

Fit Brains Pomodoro Focus Technique and Timer

Does your focus wane during tasks sometimes? You aren’t alone!  Some of us, here at Fit Brains, use the Pomodoro Technique, a popular time management technique developed by Francesco Cirillo. It’s designed to keep your mind fresh and focused so you can finish tasks faster.  And, it’s supposed to help your concentration. Bet we have your attention now, don’t we?

How To Apply The Pomodoro Technique

Fit Brains Person Working with Focus

1. Pick a task or project
2. Get rid of all distractions (eg. Phone, email)
3. Set your timer for 25 minutes
4. Work until you hear the timer
5. Take a break for 5 minutes
6. Mark a check on a piece of paper
7. Repeat steps 3-6 four times
8. Then take a break for 15 – 20 minutes

The Pomodoro Timer

In the 1980s, Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato to complete the drill and maintain concentration, hence the name Pomodoro (Italian for “tomato”). Nowadays, you can use apps like the Pomodoro Keeper (IOS), Marinara Timer (web), Simple Pomodoro (Android) and Focus Booster (Windows, Mac and web) to time your Pomodoros.

Want to Challenge Your Focus Now?

Another great way to stimulate your attention is to play our special suite of concentration games designed by neuroscientists and game experts!

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The Fit Brains Team

“Brain Training Success”

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.

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