Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Brain Training

I'm sure you've seen the adverts.  You may even have played the games.  Now the BBC is running a mass participation experiment to see if there are benefits of brain training.  You can find the website here.

I think that this could be an interesting experiment to get students involved in.  There are whole areas of How Science Works that could be discussed using this as a starting point.  For example:
  • sample size - why do bigger samples generally give better quality data than smaller samples
  • experiment design - what are the important features that have been included and why.
  • ethics - are there any ethical issues that could arise from this?  Who determines if the experiment is ethical?
  • community of scientists - who are the scientists that have designed this? what are their credentials
  • Peer review - how are the results going to be publicised?
 The timescale of the project is such that preliminary results should be available after Christmas allowing the whole experiment to be included in a single year for students.