Project Azriel Bulletproof Brain Training
Business / Non-Profit Category
Description: Project Azriel is a fun, engaging and rigorous cognitive trainer delivered as a first-person-shooter video game. The game targets multiple executive functions, the cornerstone of fluid intelligence, including working memory updating, mental set switching, and attentional inhibition. Project Azriel is the result of five years of R&D sponsored by the prestigious Office of Naval Research. Our unique approach fully integrates the cognitive tasks into the FPS & TPS gameplay, a brand new approach to brain training.
Skills and Ideas Taught: Project Azriel is designed to improve fluid intelligence. The game targets multiple executive functions, the cornerstone of fluid intelligence, including working memory updating, mental set switching, and attentional inhibition. In a world where knowledge doubles every five years, the ability to process information and problem solve is so critical. Constructs such as IQ were once thought to be fixed at birth, but recent research demonstrates that in the same way you train your muscles at the gym, you can also train your brain (for a review of scientific literature, see Klingberg, 2010, Morrison & Chein, 2011, Peng, 2016). Increasing fluid intelligence improves one’s ability to solve new problems, to see connections, and to learn. Fluid intelligence was once thought to be fixed and immutable in adulthood, but recent studies have shown success in improving fluid intelligence in lab environments. Project Azriel demonstrates that an immersive video game can be an effective tool for brain training that increases fluid intelligence outside the lab.
Goal or Challenge: The premise for the game is that the player (trainee) is member of a small, elite Navy SEALs unit that has been participating in a mind-training program. At the start, a briefing explains that a biological agent of unknown provenance has been released and is turning those infected into violent, frenzied zombies who are killing and infecting those in their path. The trainee must move from waypoint to waypoint across the city and beyond, collecting data and fighting zombies to eradicate the threat as soon as possible. Scientists have discovered that the only way to fight off the ravaging effects of the bioagent is to engage in intense mental exercise. The trainee must regularly engage in rigorous mental training in order to stay sharp and stay human.
Primary Audience: The primary audience of Project Azriel is anyone age 12+ seeking to improve their working memory and fluid intelligence in afun, engaging setting.
Assessment Approach: Project Azriel is micro-adaptive and collects high resolution player data in order to measure player performance and optimize playerlearning. In addition to collecting high resolution data that can be analyzed for patterns of user inputs and advancement and reduction patterns (relevant to researchers and game developers), we measure the player’s learning using the following performance metrics in each cognitive training activity:
- Mental set switching (shooting of the zombies): levels, accuracy, and speed and patterns of rule acquisition;
- Working memory updating (bio-agent resistance training): levels, recall distance (aka N value), image set (digits or camo), accuracy, reaction time, and d-prime;
- Attentional inhibition (remote targeting): levels, speed of zombies, number of distractors, number of zombies to track, and accuracy.
We also collect performance indicators for game world behavior including experience points, mission objectives achieved, and gameworld progression, to inform our understanding of player engagement.
Game Engine: Unity
Operating System: Windows 10, OSX
Special Hardware: None