How to do the Dual N-Back Task. Personal experienc...

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How to do the Dual N-Back Task. Personal experience and best practices.

2012-08-05 23:16:16

I started doing Dual N-Back from level 2. It was hard. My D2B rate was about 50% those days. In a couple of months of constant trainings I reached the 7-th level. That may seem great for beginners and not a big deal for some advanced n-backers. Doing that exercises I acquired some good training experience. I also read about how N-Back should and should not be done. So, here I gathered some advices for you.


Training duration and intervals.

Many people starting to do n-back task ask - how many sets do I have to complete in a one day training? Or how long daily session should be?

It is considered that to have a significant effect one should train at least 20 minutes a day. For me the best was 30 minutes of pure training time. It is about 45 minutes in general (counting breaks between sets).

Trainings should be done 5 days a week to let your brain have a rest on the other days.


To chunk or not to chunk

There are two big groups of n-backers - one think that no tactics are allowed. It means that when doing the n-back task you just look at the signals and if you feel the match (sometimes intuitively) - you should press the button. Another group considers tactics as an acceptable way for doing the task. And chunking is the most popular one.

This is how it works.

Chunking in n-back - is a way of remembering signals by grouping them. So, for example, in Dual 2-Back task letters can be remembered in chunks with 2 letters in each chunk, like: K-Q, H-Q, R-S ...


May be on the first levels chunking doesn't help a lot. But on levels 4 and higher it really makes a progress much better. Personally I belong to a second group and can say I'd never reach 7-th level without it.


Trial Time.

Default initial trial time is 3 seconds. It means that signals will be shown every 3 seconds to you. This time is usually enough, but in case it is not you can always change it in the settings.

The only thing not ok with this is warm-up.

By default every new daily session starts from level 2. For higher level players it is done to warm-up before getting to your limit. But starting from D2B with 3 seconds per trial is too long.

To avoid this you can use dynamic trial time setting.

My personal settings for DNB are: 1800 initial time and 50 increment.



There is a number of feedbacks that meditation before N-Backing helps a lot. 

So if you practice meditation try it before doing the N-Back task and you likely to have a much better performance.


That's the most frequent issues I could remember by now.

I'll update the post If something else will come up to my mind.

Please, feel free to ask if you have any questions about doing the N-Back task.