Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα cognitive abilities. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα cognitive abilities. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Σάββατο, 26 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Study: Learning New Skills Keeps Aging Mind Sharp.

A new study shows that elderly adults who challenge their minds with increasingly difficult tasks maintain cognitive functioning better than those who do less demanding activities.
To keep our brains sharp as we age, we are often told to keep our minds active; “use it or lose it.” There actually is little scientific evidence to support that, however, according to psychologist Denise Park of the University of Texas at Dallas.

“Partially because it is very, very hard to do experiments with humans, where you randomly assign them to conditions where, say, you retire young, you do not retire; you do interesting things, you do boring things,” said Park.

So Park, head of the university’s Center for Vital Longevity, designed a study in which she and her colleagues randomly assigned 221 healthy aging and elderly adults to one of three groups.

“We asked people to learn new things, like quilting or photography. We asked other people to just do fun things like being in a social group. And then we asked other people to do things at home that seemingly would help their cognition or their mental function but were not likely to have a very large effect,” she said.

The participants engaged in their assigned activity for 15 hours per week over the course of three months.

At the end of that time, researchers found that the adults who learned new skills, such as digital photography or quilting or both, showed the greatest improvements on memory tests.

No improvements were seen in the scores of those in the social group that did activities together like go on field trips, nor among the third group that listened to classical music or did crossword puzzles.

Park believes the key to improved memory in the active learning group is that the participants constantly were challenged to acquire new skills, unlike those in the other two groups, who engaged in what she calls receptive activities.

While not a cure for age-related mental decline, Park thinks being actively engaged slows it down.

“So, I am not as interested in improving the function of people as they age in their later years. I am more interested in showing ultimately over time that by these novel experiences that involve a lot of mental operations that we can slow the rate at which people cognitively age,” she said.

Park said the latest data show the improvements were maintained for at least a year, and she and her colleagues plan longer term follow ups with the participants. She also is curious to learn whether engaging in demanding mental activities delays the onset of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.   

An article on the benefit of learning new skills for the elderly is published in the journal Psychological Science


Παρασκευή, 29 Μαρτίου 2013

Τα ρομποτικά «μυρμήγκια» έμαθαν να επιλέγουν την πιο σύντομη διαδρομή

Όπως απέδειξαν οι ειδικοί του Τεχνολογικού Ινστιτούτου του Νιου Τζέρσεϊ (ΗΠΑ) και του Κέντρου Ερευνών της νοημοσύνης των ζώων στη Τουλούζη (Γαλλία), η αναζήτηση της βέλτιστης διαδρομής για μετακίνηση μέσα σε ένα χώρο δεν απαιτεί την ύπαρξη νοημοσύνης.

Στο άρθρο που δημοσιεύτηκε στο περιοδικό PLoS Computational Biology, ενημέρωσαν για το πείραμα, κατά την πορεία του οποίου μερικές εκατοντάδες δίκυκλα ρομπότ σε μεγέθους κομματιού ραφιναρισμένης ζάχαρης, τα οποία είχαν τοποθετηθεί σε λαβύρινθο, έφτασαν στο «δόλωμα» με την πιο σύντομη διαδρομή, προσανατολιζόμενα σαν τα μυρμήγκια, ακλουθώντας τα ίχνη των άλλων ρομπότ. Πιστεύεται, ότι τα αποτελέσματα που λάβανε, θα βοηθήσουν στο σχεδιασμό των καταλληλότερων διαδρομών των αστικών συγκοινωνιών.

1. Robot ants mimic insect behaviour
Scientists in the US have built and tested robotic ants, which they say behave just like a real ant colony.
The robots do not resemble their insect counterparts; they are tiny cubes equipped with two watch motors to power the wheels that enable them to move. But their collective behaviour is remarkably ant-like.
In this clip, lead researcher Dr Simon Garnier from the New Jersey Institute of Technology explains how the robots were designed to mimic the way in which an ant colony navigates.
Just like ants, he explains, the robots "work together" to find their way from A to B - each one leaving a light trail that others follow. 
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  • 2. Robotic Ants Successfully Mimic Real Colony Behavior
Mar. 28, 2013 — Scientists have successfully replicated the behaviour of a colony of ants on the move with the use of miniature robots, as reported in the journal PLOS Computational Biology. The researchers, based at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (Newark, USA) and at the Research Centre on Animal Cognition (Toulouse, France), aimed to discover how individual ants, when part of a moving colony, orient themselves in the labyrinthine pathways that stretch from their nest to various food sources.

The study focused mainly on how Argentine ants behave and coordinate themselves in both symmetrical and asymmetrical pathways. In nature, ants do this by leaving chemical pheromone trails. This was reproduced by a swarm of sugar cube size robots, called "Alices," leaving light trails that they can detect with two light sensors mimicking the role of the ants' antennae.
In the beginning of the experiment, where branches of the maze had no light trail, the robots adopted an "exploratory behaviour" modelled on the regular insect movement pattern of moving randomly but in the same general direction. This led the robots to choose the path that deviated least from their trajectory at each bifurcation of the network. If the robots detected a light trail, they would turn to follow that path.
One outcome of the robotic model was the discovery that the robots did not need to be programmed to identify and compute the geometry of the network bifurcations. They managed to navigate the maze using only the pheromone light trail and the programmed directional random walk, which directed them to the more direct route between their starting area and a target area on the periphery of the maze. Individual Argentine ants have poor eyesight and move too quickly to make a calculated decision about their direction. Therefore the fact that the robots managed to orient themselves in the maze in a similar fashion than the one observed in real ants suggests that a complex cognitive process is not necessary for colonies of ants to navigate efficiently in their complex network of foraging trails.
"This research suggests that efficient navigation and foraging can be achieved with minimal cognitive abilities in ants," says lead author Simon Garnier. "It also shows that the geometry of transport networks plays a critical role in the flow of information and material in ant as well as in human societies."

Οι νεκροί Έλληνες στα μακεδονικά χώματα σάς κοιτούν με οργή

«Παριστάνετε τα "καλά παιδιά" ελπίζοντας στη στήριξη του διεθνή παράγοντα για να παραμείνετε στην εξουσία», ήταν η κατηγορία πο...