Brain Training and Gamification

    In the article I will try to consider two types of thinking and possible options for their training and gamification. Thinking according to the type of problem being solved can be divided into the so-called productive and reproductive.
    Productive, it is creative thinking is characterized by the creation of something qualitatively new, in the context of problem solving (problem solving) is used to solve complex, previously unsolvable man tasks. Reproductive thinking, on the contrary, is used for tasks for which a solution scheme is already known, and the implementation essentially depends only on a person’s basic cognitive skills.

    Creative thinking

    Let us imagine the task facing creative thinking in the form of an abstract two-dimensional plane, on which somewhere there are several points of acceptable solutions. A person is faced with the problem of finding one of these solution points, but the difficulty lies in the inability to go through all the possible options, so in most cases insight comes to the rescue. The classical scheme for solving a creative problem consists of stages
    1) Preparation - formulation of the problem
    2) Incubation - a temporary distraction from the task
    3) Inspiration - the emergence of an intuitive solution.

    A couple of years ago, I was interested in methods for solving creative problems, and came to the conclusion that there were no particular successes in this area. The problem is that the mechanisms behind the process of insight are not well understood, as a result there is no technique that would guarantee its appearance. Therefore, they are trying to replace the insight with the, so to speak, stochastic method that can be used guaranteed.
    All methods inherently boil down to brainstorming. Brainstorming - the generation of random point-ideas on the plane of the problem. The strength of the method is that due to the fantasy, which is given complete freedom, it is possible to significantly expand the scatter of points and, as a result, increase the coverage area of ​​the plane. After all the ideas have been expressed, they are analyzed, in the hope that one of them will be somewhere in the immediate vicinity with a suitable solution. And from this point it will already be possible to try to get to a solution through reproductive thinking. There are many improvements to brainstorming, the whole point of which is to reduce the solution space, for example, SCAMPER sets some rays on the plane in the direction of which you need to come up with ideas. It is assumed that such directions have a high probability of getting to a solution (for example, one of the tricks sounds like “replacing something, for example, components, materials, people”). Or TRIZ, which, due to the fact that it is sharpened for a specific area, can even more significantly reduce the size of the solution plane.
    Therefore, creative thinking appears in the form of a certain monolithic process that cannot be divided into components that could somehow be separately trained and assemble a variant of gamification from them. The best option for training is seen only in the direct solution of full-fledged creative tasks, which in turn leads to the main difficulty. The automatic generation of creative tasks, and even more so the verification of solutions that will be invented by man, is an extremely non-trivial task. And I suppose without a full AI, this task can only lie on the shoulders of other people. That in my head gives rise to some kind of MMORPG, where there are fractions of those who contribute to the game world, those who solve them and those who evaluate it all. In total, the task of gamification of training creative thinking seems extremely laborious to me. So let's move on to something simpler.

    Reproductive thinking

    As already mentioned, it is used for tasks that, in principle, already have a solution scheme. A person is able to throw components of the problem with his mind and outline a plan for finding a solution. The quality and speed of a decision will essentially depend only on cognitive skills. Let's look at some examples. Need to learn a new application. All we need for this is the ability to concentrate on learning, and memory to remember all that has been studied. The creative contribution here is generally minimal. Or for example, find and fix a bug in the code. Of course, there are bugs that may require a thorough creative approach. But if you take a regular, average statistical bug, the speed with which you can find it also directly depends on attention, spatial thinking (which is intensively used when navigating the code), short-term memory, etc.
    This type of thinking, unlike the creative one, has quite tangible components - attention, memory, spatial thinking, volume of attention, etc. And in theory, we can train this all and thereby directly affect the speed and quality of solving problems.
    From my own experience, I would also like to mention the state of the flow, one of the characteristic features of which is increased concentration (complete disconnection from the outside world when solving the problem). In the process of practicing exercises for attention, you can achieve a similar state, and over time, when coding, it has become easier for me to enter the stream. Actually, we will implement the gamification of the training of cognitive skills.


    Unlike creative thinking, everything can be fit into the framework of a single player game, since we have fairly easily generated and easily verifiable cognitive tasks. Let's go from simple and stop at the classic version of the game with RPG elements (pumping a character by defeating mobs). In the role of mobs will be training exercises. Walking in level is not very different from a regular game, so the whole point is contained in the combat system.
    There is a couple, the player is a cognitive task (for example, remember a set of pictures). The following parameters can be distinguished for this pair:
    1) Did you make a mistake while answering
    2) Average response time
    3) Was the answer faster than the average time
    4) Time limit on the answer
    5) Did you get the answer for the allotted time
    The combat system will consist of sequential supply of cognitive tasks to the player. As a result of the decision of which, either the player will receive damage or mob. Tasks are given until one or the other runs out of health, which will lead to victory or defeat, respectively.
    1) Obviously, the worst deal is a perfect mistake. In this case, the player takes critical damage.
    2) The most positive scenario is the answer faster than average time. Encouragement for this will be a critical hit from the player.
    3) If the player did not have time to answer in the allotted time, then he receives normal damage.
    4) If the answer is slower than the average, it strikes the enemy, but at the same time he receives a retaliatory strike. Retaliation damage will increase over time so that the player, even if he does not have time to respond faster than average, there is an incentive to respond as quickly as possible.
    For victory, experience is given that will gradually increase the complexity of the tasks.

    Total We take the above idea, add a maze wandering around, health potions and chests, wrap graphics with and sound from, plus half a year of

    slow development on weekends and get:

    This is my first game project, so constructive criticism is highly welcome.

    Also popular now: