Computer Won’t Make You Smart

The net has been a source of great fun and many wasted hours but I’m not surprised to see that pointing and clicking does not exercise your brain. A study shows that people who used the brain boosting programs might as well have been reading lurid news stories about euthanized mice.

This doesn’t surprise me at all. Did anyone out there see the first computer-generated movie, Walt Disney’s ‘Tron’? It was very colorful.

Leaving the theater and walking back through the parking lot, I was struck by how rich ordinary life is. The barrage of special effects in the movie was actually two hours of sensory deprivation. Sitting in a chair watching a screen is not exercise of body or mind.

Speaking of exercise, there is evidence that activity does boost brain power. So wash the Cheetos crumbs off your fingers, change out of your pajamas and go outside. You’re already a brilliant blogger, take a walk once in a while and you’ll be Einstein. I think he liked to walk.

Wii Can Cure Anxiety and Depression, Too?

(cross-posted from my private practice site at

Now that we’ve gotten that pesky election out of the way, we can talk about really important things like Self Help Video Games!

Seriously, though, there is interesting news for therapists and gamers out there — a whole new fleet of video games are being developed to help people combat problems such as smoking and being overweight, with video games for depression, anxiety, and anger management not far off, I’m sure. Are therapists about to be replaced by Nintendo? Maybe for some people, but more than likely this transition will mean that for a select group of people, therapists will have a new tool to use to help people help themselves.

Read the full article at

More on Podcamp Boston

Yesterday was my first experience liveblogging an event, and as you can see from the skimpy blog post, it was a challenge — getting on wifi, staying online when I paused to listen more intently to presenters, typing on the small hand-held computer screen, shutting off my technology so that I could interact with the people around me. But overall, it was an amazing first experience.

For me, though, what rises to the surface after an experience is almost better — that’s the real grist for the mill. For me, reflection is as important as experience, since it allows me to comparatively assess the depth of new information received and how it will impact my own thoughts, plans, ideas and actions.

I’m not going to go into detail, but the bottom line is that attending Podcamp helped me further conceptualize some possibilities for Kmareka as well as some possibilities for how to use new media in psychotherapy. To that end, I will be doing a lot more research and writing both online and offline in the coming months.

I want to thank the presenters and participants I met at Podcamp who took the time to talk with me and share their ideas. Your listening ears and engaging responses have bolstered my enthusiasm for my work:

Philip Robertson, Oovoo

Susanne Sicilian,

Cristos Lianides-Chin,

Jim Spencer, JBS Partners

Deborah Block-Schwenk, Writing and Social Media Marketing

Larry Lawfer, Yourstorys

Robert H. Blatt, Audio Engineer and Podcaster for the New York Sun

Crystal King, Sr Principal, Communications and Global Marketing,

I’d also like to thank the people at for the really cute stuffed cow! My younger daughter is enthralled with it.

Edutopia: New Media’s Potential to Improve Education

(Cross-posted from my private practice site.)

Edutopia has a fantastic June issue with a focus on using new media in education. In particular, they have a video about Albano Berberi, a blind high school student who uses assistive technology to do things like computer programming, video-game playing, and composing musical scores that he then performs on violin. Here is a link to the video.

Another interesting short article, “Wii Love Learning,” discusses the use of the Nintendo Wii in an Indiana elementary school. The educational potential of the Wii is just beginning to be recognized. Expect more uses for this versatile high tech game platform in the future.

But also, remember to unplug! The need for exercise in our culture — real live running around and engaging in activities that stretch and build muscle, raise your heart rate, your pulse, and all the rest, are just as important as ever. As this article indicates, while there is evidence that many things can enhance cognitive functioning, the one thing with the strongest research base indicating positive brain functioning enhancement is exercise.

Also, the need for face-to-face communication and relationships is still essential. The experience of having a conversation with someone when you can look into their eyes is still something we all need, and no amount of social utility networks and blog surfing can replace this.