Dual N-Back

  • 🔗 Demo

Dual N-Back Training

Dual N-Back training is an application that may, with daily training, improve a person's memory.

This application is a replica of the Dual N-Back application that was used in Jaeggi, S., Buschkuehl, M., Jonides, J. and Perrig, W. (2008). Improving fluid intelligence with training on working memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(19), pp. 6829-6833. Further information available on the original site, and in the research paper.

The application is a JavaScript conversion of the original Silverlight version. As support for Silverlight diminishes in most modern browsers, this conversion will hopefully help users continue to use Dual N-Back training.

How to play

When you press the Start button, the application will begin by showing you a box and playing an audio recording of a letter. Remember where the box appeared and also remember the letter. After a few seconds, another box appears and another letter is played. Remember these too. When you start the game, it will start at the 2-back level (displayed across the top). This means that you need to remember if a letter was repeated or a box appeared in the same location 2 times ago. For example:

  1. Top-right corner, letter 'F'.
  2. Bottom-right corner, letter 'G'.
  3. Top-right corner, letter 'S'.
  4. Bottom-middle, letter 'G'.

For the first 2 ‘blocks’ you don't need to do anything because you are at the 2-back level (this obviously increases as you go up the levels). But when the third block is presented you need to decide if it matches the position or the letter (or both) of block 1. Likewise, for block 4, does it match either the position, letter, or both, of block 2, etc. etc. Press the letter a on the keyboard if the position matches, l if the letter matches, or both if they both match.

So, from the example above, when block 3 is presented, the position matches block 1 (top-right corner), but the letters do not. So, press a. For block 4, the position doesn't match block 2, but the letter does, so press l. Remember blocks 3 and 4 to carry on. Each session has 20 blocks. At the end of the session, if you have performed well, the level will increase to 3. So, you need to remember whenever the letter/square matches what was said/displayed 3 times ago. The level can increase or decrease depending on your performance. An entire training run consists of 20 sessions. Finish the entire run to see your results, which you can optionally save by toggling the save progress switch.

Be aware that this is a difficult game. At first, it will be difficult to press the correct keys. Be assured that this was the same for the research subjects when they first started. However, after enough practice, the subjects improved.

For more information see the demo on the original site. Note this requires Silverlight.

Bugs & Issues

Have a bug or an issue? Open a new issue on GitHub.


The original source code is available here.

Uses Start Bootstrap which was created by and maintained by David Miller, owner of Blackrock Digital.

Uses Bootstrap Toggle for the toggle switch.

QUnit used for the unit tests.