Attention plays a remarkable role in the brain, but controlling your attention so you focus on what’s important is only half of the brain’s job. It’s equally important for your brain to learn to ignore what doesn’t matter.
Mixed Signals is an exercise in BrainHQ’s Attention category that challenges you to control your attention very quickly, even when your brain is distracted by competing information. Your task in Mixed Signals is to decide within a short time limit if the image on screen and a spoken word match a specific criteria.
Here’s how the exercise works:
- At the START screen, a criteria is given (such as “number you hear is the same as number of items” or “color you hear is the same as the color of the characters”) and an example that meets the criteria is shown. Select START to begin.
- An image appears on screen and a voiceover will say a word. If the image and word match the criteria, select “Yes”; if the image and spoken word don’t match the criteria don’t do anything.
Tip: If you’re training from a computer, you can use the left arrow key on your keyboard to give a “Yes” answer.
Mixed Signals 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
If an incorrect answer is given you’ll hear a “bonk” sound, and the level may give you more time to respond in future turns. This would make it easier for you to take in all of the information. If the correct answer is given you’ll hear a “boop” sound, and the level may decrease the amount of time you’ll have to respond. This drives your brain to process information more quickly. In both cases, the level then continues, repeating Step 2 above.
You can review the exercise video tutorial below:
As you progress through Mixed Signals, it becomes more challenging in these ways:
- Opposite categories: first, a criteria may ask you to react if the image and voice match. However, in later levels your criteria may ask you to react if the image and voice don’t match.
- Interference: some levels will add additional visuals to distract you and make it harder to parse out whether the criteria is met.