Skills and Ideas Taught: Robot Factory is a next generation brain training game designed to enhance the player’s adaptive reasoning and problem solving abilities by training key components of the brain’s executive system which contribute to general fluid intelligence. Decades of research suggest that three fundamental processes are crucial to fluid intelligence. Our ability to update: store, manipulate, retrieve, and replace critical information; the skill of switching: flexibly changing the focus of our efforts based on changes in the environment; and inhibiting well learned responses when circumstances dictate. Robot Factory targets these skills by compounding exercises targeting these processes in increasingly complex configurations over the course of the game, with the goal of leading to more transferable skills by the end.
Goal or Challenge: Gameplay is broken down into two-minute levels called shifts. For each shift, the player’s goal is to score three stars by performing well on the stated task. The tasks range from sorting robot parts, identifying faults, inducing hidden rules and storing and manipulation complex sequences of information – all this in a fast-paced environment, where adaptive algorithms precisely vary complexity to keep the player challenged and motivated. Additionally, task variety, stimulus diversity, and humorous narrative touches bring an element of discovery to the experience (“What happens when I get something wrong?”, “What will BossBot say next?”).
Primary Audience: Reasoning and problems solving in conjunction with varied, complex, and dynamic data is becoming a routine aspect of many jobs. Robot Factory has been designed to enhance the ability of people to be more effective in these environments – the goal is to make smart people smarter. The game was designed, developed and is being tested as part of The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA)-funded SHARP (Strengthening Human Adaptive Reasoning and Problem-Solving) program. IARPA is the research arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The goal of SHARP is to advance the science on optimizing human adaptive reasoning and problem-solving.
Assessment Approach: An underlying scoring algorithm evaluates player performance within each shift with responses weighted to reflect rarity and importance. The scores from each shift feed into a progression algorithm which selects the next shift and sets difficulty accordingly, keeping players at the edge of their skill level.
Description: Robot Factory is designed to enhance the cognitive performance of high-performing adults whose everyday tasks involve reasoning and problem solving in information rich environments. The game, played in the context of being a worker drone in a futuristic and dystopian robot factory, was built in collaboration with neuroscientists to engage fundamental cognitive processes that play a crucial role in fluid intelligence. The uniqueness of Robot Factory lies both in its strong roots in neurocognitive theory and the automata behind the scenes — which provide players with an increasingly complex and compounded combination of different types of cognitive challenges designed to engage and enhance the processes supporting effective reasoning and problem solving.
Game Engine: Unity 3D
Operating System: Windows 7, Windows 8
Platform: Personal Computer
Special Hardware: None