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(Article) Doubts about brain-training games

 
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:53 am    Post subject: (Article) Doubts about brain-training games Reply with quote

Has anyone tried the brain-training games being offered on some Websites? I tried a few and had my doubts about how well they would work. It seems that some experts have had their doubts too:

Quote:
Computerized Brain Training Fails a Test

The early news is not encouraging for makers of computerized brain-training games.


To keep the mind sharp as we age, we should "exercise" it regularly, according to a large body of research that has accumulated in recent decades. Just as with preserving muscle strength, the mantra is "use it or lose it." In fact, a growing number of computerized brain-training games are sold to people who seek to preserve their intellect.

A British team recruited 11,340 viewers of a popular BBC science program to engage in an online brain-training experiment during a 6-week period. Participants (age range, 1860) underwent a broad set of cognitive tests at baseline and were allocated randomly to three online-exercise groups: The first focused on reasoning, planning, and problem-solving tasks; the second focused on broader tasks of memory, attention, mathematics, and other skills; and the third (control) searched online for answers to obscure questions. After 6 weeks, groups one and two definitively improved their performance on their specifically assigned brain-training games, but they showed no improvement (compared with the control group) when they repeated the more general cognitive testing that had been done at baseline.

Comment:

This study does not debunk all claims that regular computerized brain exercises preserve or strengthen overall mental performance: It involved just a few exercises and was conducted for just 6 weeks. Yet, it does throw a dash of cold water on commercial programs that promise cognitive benefits.

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD

Published in Journal Watch General Medicine April 29, 2010

Citation(s):

Owen AM et al. Putting brain training to the test. Nature 2010 Apr 20


My attitude about them has been to try them out if/when I had time and energy but never to pay real money for them....

Also, I haven't seen one yet that really appealed to me. I wouldn't have wanted to keep playing any of them. Most were too high-paced for me, and many seemed downright boring.
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