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Thread: Chess does not make you smarter. Say WHAT?

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Chess does not make you smarter. Say WHAT?

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    I don't have a problem believing it. But just because chess might not improve scores on standardized tests (whatever you want to call what they measure), it does not mean it doesn't have benefits.
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    Chess does not improve one formal measure of one aspect of intelligence. But learning to play chess does teach foresight and strategic thinking.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Maybe being smart makes you play chess.

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    From the article:
    Many people believe chess has a range of cognitive benefits including improved memory, IQ, problem solving skills and concentration.
    Who are these "many people" and why on earth would they think that?

    Grant Hutchison

  6. #6
    I think it is more of some people who play chess happen to do better on tests, the two groups just happen to overlap. I taught both my nieces how to play chess, one does great tests and the other does not.
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    I think learning to play chess and regular practice makes you better at playing chess. But only up to a point where you need to play better players, then you realise they might be smarter than you , at chess. The same is true, I believe, with juggling, and differential equations.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Many people believe chess has a range of cognitive benefits including improved memory, IQ, problem solving skills and concentration.
    The same could easily be said of mastering any complex task that involves problem solving.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    The same could easily be said of mastering any complex task that involves problem solving.
    That "many people believe" mastering such a task will improve their IQ score?
    I don't think I've met any of these people, or read anything they've written. But it seems like, whoever they are, they've mistaken correlation for causation, with the causal arrow pointing in the wrong direction.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Reminds me of the claimed links between learning music and ability in math.


    ("maths"? (My last girlfriend would beat me if I used the "wrong" one as it was "American". (She also refused to high-five, for the same reason). Now I can't remember which (math or maths) is which.))
    Measure once, cut twice. Practice makes perfect.

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    The trouble is, getting good at a cognitively demanding task just makes you good at that task. There was a vogue for "brain training" games a few years ago, and I can't do better than quote from the findings of a meta-analysis of studies (800KB pdf) investigating the claimed cognitive benefits:
    Based on this examination, we find extensive evidence that brain-training interventions improve performance on the trained tasks, less evidence that such interventions improve performance on closely related tasks, and little evidence that training enhances performance on distantly related tasks or that training improves everyday cognitive performance.
    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    The trouble is, getting good at a cognitively demanding task just makes you good at that task. There was a vogue for "brain training" games a few years ago, and I can't do better than quote from the findings of a meta-analysis of studies (800KB pdf) investigating the claimed cognitive benefits:
    Grant Hutchison
    What was the content of the games?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    What was the content of the games?
    There were a few of these kinds of thing:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_..._Minutes_a_Day!
    Measure once, cut twice. Practice makes perfect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    What was the content of the games?
    How long have you got?
    For examples, take a look at this table from this review. ("WM" is an abbreviation for "working memory".)

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    The same could easily be said of mastering any complex task that involves problem solving.
    Yes, can easily be said. But whether it is true or not is a different question.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by pzkpfw View Post
    Now I can't remember which (math or maths) is which.))
    Math is 'merican and maths is British. Being in an international environment, I hear both, and I'm pretty surprised to hear that somebody would be so dogmatic about it, one way or the other.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    It worked for me. I played a few games as a pre-teen. Then I wised up and haven't touched it since.

    Fred
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Math is 'merican and maths is British. Being in an international environment, I hear both, and I'm pretty surprised to hear that somebody would be so dogmatic about it, one way or the other.
    We once had a poster here (a Brit working in America) who was quite exercised about how Americans had changed the British English suffix -ise to the "silly" -ize. I pointed out that -ize was still the preferred spelling of the Oxford English Dictionary, and that -ise had only recently developed a growing popularity in British English spelling, pretty much driven by spell-checking software introduced in the 1990s. As in a number of cases, the American spelling actually preserves the original British. Never heard back from him on that one.

    Grant Hutchison

  20. 2019-Jul-12, 04:06 AM
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    Maybe not PC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    We once had a poster here (a Brit working in America) who was quite exercised about how Americans had changed the British English suffix -ise to the "silly" -ize. I pointed out that -ize was still the preferred spelling of the Oxford English Dictionary, and that -ise had only recently developed a growing popularity in British English spelling, pretty much driven by spell-checking software introduced in the 1990s. As in a number of cases, the American spelling actually preserves the original British. Never heard back from him on that one.

    Grant Hutchison
    That's very interesting, thank you.

    As a programmer, I'm often dealing with things like "authorize" in software ... especially in predefined classes and objects (where the name is what it is, as Microsoft made it that way). In locally defined variables I'd stubbornly use "ise", and it would bug me to have both kinds. (Made up example: var authorisationToken = Some.MSDefinedObject.GetAuthorizationToken();)

    Now I know I really was just being stupid, and can chill on the "ize".
    Measure once, cut twice. Practice makes perfect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pzkpfw View Post
    That's very interesting, thank you.

    As a programmer, I'm often dealing with things like "authorize" in software ... especially in predefined classes and objects (where the name is what it is, as Microsoft made it that way). In locally defined variables I'd stubbornly use "ise", and it would bug me to have both kinds. (Made up example: var authorisationToken = Some.MSDefinedObject.GetAuthorizationToken();)

    Now I know I really was just being stupid, and can chill on the "ize".
    The -ize ending is in decline in British English, and UK publishers have been piecemeal switching their house style to -ise for a couple of decades. It's a slightly complicated story - I've written at length about it here.

    Grant Hutchison

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    TeX and LaTeX are very US-oriented, default paper size is US letter, default margins are one inch, etc. Various classes and styles use spellings “itemize” and “color”, although I suppose one could just define new commands with alternate spellings.

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    I haven't played chess in years, when I won I felt smarter, when I lost I felt dumber. It evened out.

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    It appears to me that the standardized tests that do not show statistically significant effects are too narrow, measuring skill sets that are only portions of the student's overall capabilities. From what I have seen in various sources, the positive influences from participation in such activities as chess, performing arts, and sports are not lost on the faculties and deans of admission at places like Harvard and M.I.T. It is my understanding that they like well-rounded students. Of course, someone like the late Bobby Fischer, immersed in chess to the exclusion of all else, could be an exception.

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    When I play very simple computer chess, I lose, it shows how easy small mistakes are and many human players either do not notice or assume it's a bluff, or something. But if you have not played for years I guess you missed out on speed chess, strip chess and drinking games chess. Same applies to snooker, if you get to go to some types of training courses, a little snooker skill and a drinks strategy can save you cash and kudos. But maybe that's UK and Europe, ? Pool may not have that status in USA. Chess less useful except in oneupmanship conversations.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    The -ize ending is in decline in British English, and UK publishers have been piecemeal switching their house style to -ise for a couple of decades. It's a slightly complicated story - I've written at length about it here.

    Grant Hutchison
    Interesting stuff; I find the decline of difference in I and Me still irritates more than ize and ise. It extends to Us as in "Us engineers like to use..." and "Me and him were walking down...." It hurts me but I should relax because that ship has sailed, it seems.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    From what I have seen in various sources, the positive influences from participation in such activities as chess, performing arts, and sports are not lost on the faculties and deans of admission at places like Harvard and M.I.T. It is my understanding that they like well-rounded students.
    From personal experience:
    1) Sometimes admissions committees, even those at prestigious universities, believe things for which there is no supporting evidence.
    2) The "well-rounded student" tick boxes are endlessly gamed by the most obsessive-compulsive uni-dimensional students, who all turn up to medical school interviews with their Duke of Edinburgh awards, their charity work with Mother Teresa, and their carefully selected set of over-achiever "interests". Great on paper, foot in the door - but devoid of even rudimentary interpersonal skills, and curiously unable to discuss their interests with any, you know, interest.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    From personal experience:
    1) Sometimes admissions committees, even those at prestigious universities, believe things for which there is no supporting evidence.
    2) The "well-rounded student" tick boxes are endlessly gamed by the most obsessive-compulsive uni-dimensional students, who all turn up to medical school interviews with their Duke of Edinburgh awards, their charity work with Mother Teresa, and their carefully selected set of over-achiever "interests". Great on paper, foot in the door - but devoid of even rudimentary interpersonal skills, and curiously unable to discuss their interests with any, you know, interest.

    Grant Hutchison
    Yes indeed, and I can see how a gullible admissions officer might admit them to the unfair exclusion of more deserving candidates who have the interpersonal skills to be better citizens. A pernicious opposite extreme sometimes happens when some of our guidance counselors try to get students to quit performing arts electives in favor of more advanced-placement courses to inflate their grade point averages should they be able to make A's in them. Great for school statistics but does not necessarily develop better citizens. For the most part, my fellow students in band, orchestra, choral and drama programs developed great work habits and interpersonal skills in these activities, even the majority who did not go into those fields professionally.

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