An educational game that’s designed to sharpen players’ mental acuity.
Novelist and psychologist Litvin (Life of the Sailor, 2010, etc.) argues that academic underperformance isn’t necessarily a sign of intellectual deficiency. Rather, it could be the consequence of insufficient brain stimulation, which, he says, can hinder the processing of complex information. However, there are various mental exercises that can change the structure of one’s brain cells, he asserts, thereby optimizing one’s capacity for memory, increasing focus and concentration, and ultimately paving the way to academic success. His game involves various “modes of expression” that aim to involve multiple parts of the brain. Litvin described this approach’s underlying psychology in 2011’s Litvin’s Code, and in nearly identical terms; however, in this book, he describes the process of “translating” one perceptual stimulus into another, calling it “psychoconduction.” The game itself is fairly simple in concept: A player is presented with pictures of boxes, with some containing symbolic codes that represent numbers in rudimentary mathematical equations. (The pictures can also be expressed in audio form as a series of knocks, or in “kinesthetic” form as opening or closing hands.) The child figures out the equations by translating these codes into numbers, which, according to the author, provokes a full engagement of the senses. The bulk of the book is devoted to these numerous exercises, which are helpfully illustrated. However, as in Litvin’s Code, the author makes bold claims about both the effectiveness of his method and its underlying brain science, but he never provides scientific evidence as confirmation. For example, how precisely will this game cause simple brain cells to “act as complex” ones—a claim that seems dubious? Despite this, he reports impressive success; without offering any specifics or concrete proof, he says that all of the youngsters who tried his method went to college, including one with “severe dyslexia,” and that it improved the memory of elderly people with dementia.
A well-illustrated children’s activity, but its power to induce neuroplasticity is implausible and unconvincing.