Why wasn't the code open sourced and made available under a free license?
As for the code being open sourced, the results of the research should be publicly available but the material of the research is an asset of the university (like how the computers and beakers used in other experiments wouldn't be given away to the public). Commercialization of research ("tech transfer") involves additional costs and risks that are taken on by research institutions, researchers, and private entities. This PR announcement was likely not coincidentally following the release of the app to the public. There was likely additional costs outside of the original scope of research to make the app robust for public usage outside of the experiment setting.
Personally, I'm disappointed that something that sounds promising may not have a chance to stand on its own as an example of a viable application when other "brain training" apps have shown their more akin to placebos rather.
Its story has the same trajectory
“Test subjects who spent hours practicing [insert proprietary game here] scored better when tested on different games that require similar skills.”
Smells like a poorly designed experiment salted with commercial interests.
Turned out the test of IQ was Raven's Progressive Matrices and it's never been decisively validated
Are there any tips on how to not miserably fail?
C'mon, this could be cloned in a weekend ;)
Publish neuroscience findings in a public access journal by all means. Even including pseudocode of the sequence generation algorithm.
But I am all for distributing their particular implementation via private sector partnerships. That could yield further funding and experimentation. And possibly alleviate taxpayer research dependency for their lab in future.
The work itself taps into some novel neuroscience. Do we we possess a Bayesian brain that estimates probabilities in real time? Altering a belief net based on new evidence. Or are patterns hard wired and must be learned. I think this sort of training game based on integer series could work just as well with text, images, music, video, animation, etc.
You should read Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking Fast and Slow" - the answer is a resounding "No".
For Gigerenzer, you might wish to start out here:
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1479277914300003... (Available here: http://library.mpib-berlin.mpg.de/ft/gg/gg_how_1991.pdf)
And for Stanovich et al., you might want to start out here:
Stanovich et al. showed that Kahneman & Tversky's classical "System 1/System 2" dual process model as one too simplistic, outlining at least 3 systems involved:
* The Autonomous Mind
* The Reflective Mind
* The Algorithmic Mind
For points addressed by both Gigerenzer as well as Stanovich et al, see here:
None of this of course directly addresses your "Bayesian brain" point, however, for that, you might want to take a look at "some" articles by psychiatrist Scott Alexander, many of which speculative but citing a lot of sources you might wish to look into:
(And here, as a bonus, an article on dreaming, by Eliezer Yudkowsky: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/8z2Fm2yaHpQz8rr5B/dreams-wit...)
That is to say, they will bet on the 40% probability outcome 4 times, even though they believe the 60% is more likely each time
Edit: Upon further inspection it looks like the percentiles I was reading were for the specific game. It makes sense that for the pay-walled games there aren't as many people playing so it's not a representative sample.
Disclaimer: I'm a researcher in the US.
Is what gives universities IP rights and allows them to keep research closed. Top Five Fascist laws in the books.
I called Bayh-Dole act a fascist law, because it encourages the privatization of public research. It is literally a gift from the public to the corporation and encourages public organizations to participate in corporate behavior which is antithetical to their actual stated missions.
The PPP (public private partnerships) in common wealth countries are aimed at achieving
* less oversight of government activity and accountability
* union busting
under the guise of efficiency and cost reductions. And are anti-democratic. Fascism is the description we give to a certain type of corporate-statist behavior. The wonderful (facetious) effect this has is that is imperceptible to a lot of folks while slowly shifting the ideology to the right.
I am not calling people national socialists. I never called a person a fascist. Bayh-Dole was probably well intentioned but the result has been the exclusion of public research for the public good. It stifles more innovation than it encourages. What term would you use?
I've seen Mariana Mazzucato suggest the government as VC in that they get a portion of the profits from their grant projects, but then I wonder how they could safely regulate their own funding revenue?
One of my favorite things about the US is that works of the Federal government are public domain. It speaks to the fact the government is representative of the people themselves, not a particular person.
Now granted, universities don't have to release their publicly funded work either in the US, but I think that should be changed.
Crown Copyright doesn't deal with university research, only with works done by the government. Pretty much everything released by central government is now licensed through the UK Government Licensing Framework under the Open Government License (OGL), which is essentially CC-BY.
Examples of loads of photos and documents that Wikimedia have taken copies of (and often reusing) under the OGL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:OGL
This should be obvious on HN of all places. The government is just an investor in this context. It can demand whatever terms it wants, but the terms you're proposing are basically "100% equity in return for funding initial development costs." Nobody with options would take that deal.
So the argument to "nobody would take that deal" would be: nobody would make that investment. Lots of tax payer and government money goes to projects that would otherwise not exist, as such their rights and access to information should go beyond what a usual private investor would expect.
This obviously extends to academic freedom as well. If we're going down the road of treating the government as an investor in a 'university entreprise', then the government should obviously have shareholder control over a public university.
There are more than enough researchers and research which have no options, but are still valuable for society. Let the others be done commercially, more public money for those that really need it.
Of course, this article is talking about UK research, but I assume the same desire to have research have impact applies.
The positive effects of open sourcing science could be seen down the road and not in a direct way, but in more indirect ways.
I would add that this happens everywhere from The Donald and construction of the wall (I’m sure the procurement process will be astonishingly transparent) to government building anything really. Clay Davis (shiiiiiiit) refers to this in The Wire as “the golden faucet”, a mythical place within government that you can make a seemingly infinite amount of money from. Alternatively for the UK read any edition of Private Eye.
If it is just training to become better at the test to measure ADHD (I don't know enough about the game to be sure) than it would be a classic application of that "law".
The gold standard ADHD diagnosis would involve examining the child (or adult) in multiple settings with multiple people's evidence, and then comparing symptoms against those for anxiety, depression, and other MH diagnoses. If they have enough symptoms from the official list, and they've been carefully examined, they may qualify. A simple game/test will never be able to replace that process.
So like, your gold standard diagnosis ends up depending a lot on the organizational and attention demands the patient is required to meet. A business analyst who is required to sit at a desk for eight hours a day and pay attention to boring numbers on a business spreadsheet is much more likely to get diagnosed with ADHD, while a barber that hangs out and does short haircuts while interacting with clients is much less likely to merit such diagnosis.
I was originally diagnosed in college. And have managed it with a combo of effort and medication. Life has been good.
Now I have two family member adolescents. One was diagnosed, and I knew he absolutely did not have it. It took two years before the psychiatrist admitted it was anxiety. Meanwhile the younger one definitely does, but personally I feel he is too young for medication or even be diagnosed. He will eventually be properly diagnosed and be prescribed.
I know there is a lot of misdiagnosis, but sometimes it's incredibly obvious even on a first interaction. I am not a psychiatrist but sometimes you just recognize your people.
This isn't being advertised as more substantive than dual n-back, just more gamified and playable. Given that n-back doesn't seem to work even if you're absolutely diligent about doing it, my expectation for "less rigorous but more playable" is that it will have no value whatsoever.
About the game:
"To meet the objective, users have to identify different combinations of number strings in missions littered with distraction."
About the test (used to prove the game does improve cognitive abilities):
"Those tested were asked to detect digit sequences (such as 2-4 or 6-8), and then hit a button once detected as quickly as they could — and multiple sequences could appear at the same time"
This feels like a paid article to promote the Peak app. No science here unfortunately. I don't understand how public funds pay for studies like this.
Unless this stands up to a far stronger test, I'm not just dismissing the result but considering it an embarrassment for Cambridge's Neuroscience Institute, Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience, and ABC. Turning the results so far into a news story promising to free people from stimulants is reckless at best and dishonest at worst.
They should have a population with confirmed ADHD taje Ritalin or not and then play the game. The headline had nothing to do with the drug or ADHD.
People who played more got better compared to playing bingo is all they could take claim.
"BS consults for Cambridge Cognition and Peak. We have technology-transferred the App to Cambridge Enterprise who intends to technology-transfer the App to the games company Peak so that it can become widely available for use on mobile devices. This has not occurred yet."
In short: we put up a free demo, but now we're giving all our code to the for-profit company our lead author happens to consult for. Also, they haven't bothered to actually release it outside their branded iOs-only app.
I was pretty excited to read this headline, but the details don't make sense to me. They only did this on people without ADD?
I don't understand why they didn't test this on people who have ADHD. "Healthy trial participants" would never be taking stimulants such as methylphenidate (Ritalin), so how do they compare how a healthy person changes from Ritalin.
Maybe in your circles. But I know a lot of people who abuse focus enhancing drugs (often touted as "nootropics") to keep up with their academic struggles.
Ease of sample, probably, but also as a baseline proof. There's essentially no evidence of any brain-training game ever producing significant cognitive improvements in populations with roughly normal functioning (in which I'm including ADHD). So before pitching it as a Ritalin replacement, step one would be to demonstrate that it achieves anything at all.
Unfortunately, they don't seem to have done that either, because the test was so close to the game that practice effects are the most likely explanation.
I'm not calling this a fraud but didn't numerous studies showed that any of the so called brain trainig apps don't show translation of skill to the real world? e.g. you do get better that the games the apps have, but not helping in actual real life scenarios?
The test they used (Rapid Visual Information Processing test) is just another "game" in a way. You can train someone to be better at the test, but it doesn't make their ADHD go away magically. I wish it was that easy.
It looks like the app includes games that are way too similar to the actual test that was used to determine progress in the test subjects.
From the article:
Am I missing something or this sounds like almost the same thing?
One can train and learn all the answers to an IQ test, this doesn't make one a genius.
This feels like a real great promoted article in the cover of scientific writing, but maybe I'm just and old cynic.
Once a study shows actual translation, after years of observation, that ADHD subjects get improvements in other aspects of life (school, social, grades, self esteem etc) then I'll be the first to support it. Until then, it just looks like greed and bottom line. I guess it's better than playing candy crush at least.
Yes, this is almost always the problem. For quite a while, we thought dual n-back tests had generalized results, and so brain-training apps were basically attempting to stumble on a gamified version of that task. Unfortunately, newer studies suggest that dual n-back also doesn't produce fluid intelligence or working memory improvements, so there's no proof of concept here at all.
As for this study, the game and metric were exceedingly similar, and practice effects on the metric are an obvious risk. The researchers did apply a second metric less similar to their task, a standard dot-connecting task called Trail Making Task. Unfortunately, their stated intent was to show that improved single-task attention didn't degrade focus-switching attention, so this was a substantially different task for which they hypothesized no change.
Their abstract reports a statistically significant improvement on TMT, which could be quite interesting. However, the full paper shows that Decoder had p=0.03 improvement on TMT over the active control (people who played Bingo), but the passive control (no play) was not significantly different than Decoder or the active control. This isn't regarded as a failure because they expected no change, but it means the study failed to show clear improvement in any metric which didn't precisely replicate the game's task.
You're absolutely right to be skeptical here. Practice effects are a constant problem with this sort of research, and the study seems to be confusingly short on attempts to test for that. The actual app focuses more on gamification than using any type of proven test, and the lead author's corporate connection to Peak is at best concerning. I don't think there's any sort of fraud here, but it's a field riddled with well-meaning projects that turn out to lack any general benefit, and this result has all the warning signs for another promising failure.
I understand if there's no web version, but no Android version in 2019 is ridiculous. That and the plus university research angle seems to indicate that this is a one-off app that is unlikely to be updated or maintained down the line.
As for the university research angle... it's bad research, embarrassingly so. There's a reason companies like Lumosity keep getting warned about making unsupported claims, and this looks like an attempt to get academic backing for a product with all the same problems as prior ones.
ADHD doesn't mean stupid. Many people who suffer under ADHD are really bright, they just have problems with focusing in school.
And AFAIK Ritalin doesn't increase intelligence, the best explanation I've come across is it just lowers the threshold for "interesting" in the ADHD brain until things like driving according to speed limits and listening to teachers isn't mind numbingly boring anymore.
In all seriousness I downloaded a browser extension to lock me into my course work when I need it. It's pretty sad for me
Presumably the game is not that complex in its mechanic such that an open source version that ran on more platforms could be devised.
That said, I'm waiting for the study where they take participants and structure their access to email, social media, and television in such a way as to limit it to a prescribed time and duration. One hypothesis is that trying to multi-task negatively affects the ability to single task (concentrate) effectively.
I think VR games would be great for improving concentration, but at short intervals at first. Similar to meditation where you focus on breathing and then move onto other areas of meditation.
The article points to Decoder being embedded in an app, Peak Brain training:
Can’t help but feel that this is slightly on the nose.
Can’t help but feel that doing something similar with cognition is slightly on the nose.