The Brain Clock: The brain clock as a “jack-of-all-trades” brain mechanism that can be fine-tuned to improve human performance

The Brain Clock:  The brain clock as a “jack-of-all-trades” brain mechanism that can be fine-tuned to improve human performance

In my inaugural IM-Home blog post (Brain Clock: My journey to understand the science of mental timing interventions), I concluded with the following statement:

I am now convinced that the IM-effect is impacting a fundamental and critical cognitive mechanism (or set of mechanisms) involved in a wide array of human cognitive and motor performance domains.”

Cognitive and intelligence researchers have long sought for (and argued about) the “holy grail”of intelligence—an underlying core essence or mechanism that plays a role in most all intellectual and human performance situations.  It is typically referred to as g, or general intelligence.   The general consensus touches on the concept of neural efficiency.  Such a general mechanism or process is considered a domain-general cognitive mechanism as it works across multiple domains of human ability, or in other words...if you improve this one area of ability, it in turn improves several areas of ability in the same person like cognitive skills (focus, attention, memory), speech/language abilities (articulation, auditory processing, reading), and motor skills (coordination, gait, balance).   It works across multiple domains of human ability.  Some have referred to such general mechanisms as a “jack-of-all-trade” cognitive mechanism. 

The Brain Clock: My journey to understand the science of mental timing interventions

The Brain Clock: My journey to understand the science of mental timing interventions

Run Gordon Run…this sounds like high-tech snake oil!”   

That was my knee-jerk advice to friend and colleague, Dr. Gordon Taub, when he called me in 2004 to assess my interest in consulting on a “synchronized metronome tapping” (SMT) invention called Interactive Metronome (IM).  IM was supposedly directed at improving the academic achievement of elementary school students.  My skepticism was grounded on the fact that for many years in education (and special education in particular), non-academic interventions focused on remediating underlying cognitive deficits (e.g., psycholinguistic process training; visual-motor or spatial integration training; motor planning retraining) were subsequently found to be ineffective in improving reading, writing and math.  Yes, performance could be improved on tests of the specific cognitive processes trained, but the results did not transfer to academic improvement in the classroom.

By the early to mid-1980’s non-academic cognitive process intervention programs had been debunked as ineffective for improving school achievement.  It was from this skeptical lens that I offered Dr. Taub my advice.  I went as far as telling Dr. Taub that I could not risk my professional reputation by being associated with yet another “magic bullet” claim for school learning, especially for “at risk” learners.  The magic bullet lesson had been burned well into my school psychology psyche after a decade...

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