There are many different ways to be “intelligent.” When we say “Intelligence” in the context of BrainHQ, we’re referring more to mental flexibility within working (short-term) memory. But, what all types of intelligence have in common, though, is the ability to recall, compare, and manipulate multiple pieces of information very quickly, all at the same time. We are confronted daily with problem solving and decision making situations—when we’re at the grocery store and comparing products, when we’re engaged in a game and trying to figure out what the next move should be, and much more!
Card Shark—one of the exercises from BrainHQ’s Intelligence category—is what’s known as a visual n-back test. You will be presented with playing cards that are added one at a time to a sequence. Once presented, the card is turned over. Your task is to decide if the current card matches the card presented a specific number of steps back in the sequence.
There are a few of things to be aware of in this exercise:
- The Deck: On the left there is a deck of cards that are placed facedown. The card art is there to indicate that the card is face down.
- The Equal Sign: This shows you which two cards are going to be compared.
- The Display Space: One card will be drawn from the deck and be placed face up in this space.
- The Holding Spaces: These are spaces that cards can be held in when waiting to be moved to the Comparison Space. These cards will all be face down.
- The Comparison Space: This is the card that you have to compare to the Display Card. It sits to the right of the equal sign, and will remain face down.
Here’s how the exercise works:
- At the START screen, you’ll be shown what kinds of cards you’ll be asked to match in the Display and Comparison Spaces, and any Holding Spaces that the level will start with are presented at the bottom (not present for all levels). Select START to begin.
- A card is drawn from the deck and placed face up to the left of the equals sign, in the Display Space. Remember this card.
- The card in the Display Space will then move to a Holding Space (if available) and be placed face down. Simultaneously, a new card is drawn from the deck and placed face up in the Display Space.
- The cards will continue to shift from the Display Space to the Holding Space, and then from Holding Space to Holding Space (if more than one is present).
- Once there is a card in the Display Space and in the Comparison Space, your task is to determine if the face up Display card matches the face down Comparison card.
If an incorrect answer is given you’ll hear a “bonk” sound, and the amount of cards you’ll be asked to remember in the sequence may be reduced (this is done by removing a Holding Space if there’s one present). If the correct answer is given you’ll hear a “boop” sound, and the amount of cards you’ll be asked to remember in the sequence may increase (this is done by adding another Holding Space). In both cases, the level then continues, repeating from Step 3 above.
Card Shark is what’s known as a Continuous Performance Task (CPT) exercise. This means that speed and accuracy are both important when you are selecting your answers. Because of this, there are two ways to be marked wrong:
- Selecting the incorrect answer
- Not answering correctly within the time limit
You can review the exercise video tutorial below:
We also have a recording of a live demonstration of this exercise here:
As you progress through Card Shark it becomes more challenging in these ways:
- The number of items to remember in the sequence increases
- The information to remember for each item changes (suit, number, both)
- The cards are presented for less time