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New evidence fails to replicate the very study upon which the brain-training game industry depends.
The desire to improve our cognitive ability through brain-training games has turned into what is said to be a trillion-dollar industry. Such games are based on the idea that testing our memory, attention and other types of brain processing will improve our overall intelligence and brain function.
Companies like Lumosity, Cogmed and Nintendo are all cashing in hugely on this idea. But many scientists and experts in brain research feel the theory has serious flaws. There has yet to be concrete evidence proving anything close to what such companies claim to be able to do.
In fact, David Z. Hambrick, associate professor of psychology at Michigan State University, and his colleagues Thomas S. Redick (lead researcher) and Randall W. Engle will soon be publishing new evidence that fails to replicate the very study that so much of the commercial industry rests upon.
We spoke with Hambrick about the limits of intelligence and the findings from this new and potentially ground-breaking study.
SmartPlanet: What are these brain games actually training or improving?
David Z. Hambrick: The so-called brain games are essentially tasks that require the player to remember information, to attend to information and make judgments, and to comprehend texts or imagine how an object might look in different orientations.
SP: What would be one test used by one of these brain-game companies, like Lumosity?
DZH: One is called a dual n-back test. Users have to monitor two streams of information, one visual and one auditory. And each time one or both of these streams emits some kind of an established target you press a key. So it’s a divided-attention task: You have to split your attention between two channels of input.
DZH: Great question. It's designed to improve working memory. You can think of working memory as your mental workspace for concurrently sorting and processing information. One of the core capabilities of working memory is the ability to control attention. Lumosity is marketing this test to increase intelligence because it is designed to tap into this ability to control attention. Their idea is that if we can improve the ability to control attention then we can, by extension, improve people’s intelligence.
SP: What was the trigger that launched this huge industry trend of brain games?
DZH: Psychologists have been interested in the idea of improving intelligence for over a century. But until the mid-2000s, people were not very optimistic about this whole enterprise.
However, there was a specific study published in 2008 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Susanne Jaeggi and Martin Buschkuehl that renewed interest in this topic.
SP: Could you describe that study?
DZH: Sure. They had subjects complete a test to measure reasoning ability. Subjects watched patterns that change across rows or down columns, and made an inference about how those patterns change. Then some of the subjects received the dual n-back training. One group received eight sessions of training, another group received 12 sessions of training, a third group 17 sessions, and a fourth group 19 sessions of training.
Some of the subjects were assigned to a control group, meaning they didn’t receive any training after taking the reasoning test. Then everybody returned for a second administration of the test.
They found that the training subjects showed a bigger gain in reasoning test scores than the control subjects. And they also found that the training groups that received more hours of training showed a bigger gain in reasoning test scores.
They explicitly claimed that this was an increase in intelligence, and not merely in performance on a single test of reasoning. In particular an increase in what we call fluid intelligence.
SP: What is fluid intelligence?
DZH: Fluid intelligence is the ability to solve novel problems and adapt to new situations, as opposed to crystallized intelligence, which is acculturated learning, so for example knowing the meaning of the word “concur”, or knowing what the Koran is.
It has been thought that fluid intelligence is pretty much fixed, and that it is impervious to efforts to improve it through training. So the finding in the Jaeggi study that fluid intelligence can be improved created a big stir.
SP: But you claim the study has major flaws?
DZH: If you find that people get better in one test of reasoning it doesn’t mean necessarily that they’re smart, it means that they’re better on one test of reasoning. You can’t measure fluid intelligence with any single test, it’s measured with multiple tests.
SP: And the other flaw?
DZH: There were some pretty striking differences between the control group and the training groups. The control group who received no training, went home and did whatever. But the training groups, on the other hand, came in regularly for training. This raises possibility of motivation being an explanation: They wanted to do well in the experiment.
Another important point is that there were procedural differences across these training groups that really complicate interpretation of the results, and in particular the claim that more training equals more gain. These procedural differences were not reported in the Jaeggi article. We found out about them in Jaeggi's unpublished dissertation, and through follow-up emails to Jaeggi.
SP: You worked with lead researcher Tom Redick to attempt to replicate the findings from the Jaeggi study. And this research is about to be published. Can you give us a preview of what you found?
DZH: So, we set out to replicate the findings, correcting all of these problems. We had subjects complete not one but eight tests of fluid intelligence. We then assigned them to a training group in which they received 20 sessions of training in Jaeggi's dual n-back task or to one of two control conditions. The "no-contact" control condition was the same as Jaeggi's control condition. By contrast, in the "active-control" condition, subjects were trained in a task that we designed to be as demanding as dual n-back without tapping working memory capacity. Finally, we had all subjects perform different versions of the eight intelligence tests half way through training and at the end.
And what did we find? Zip. There wasn't much more than a hint of the pattern of results that Jaeggi reported in any of the eight intelligence tests, and nothing in the predicted direction that even approached statistical significance. If you someone were to ask me to estimate how much 20 sessions of training in dual n-back tasks improves fluid intelligence, I'd say zero.
SP: How would you define intelligence?
DZH: At a conceptual level intelligence is the ability to learn, to profit from experience, the ability to adapt to new situations, and the ability to solve problems. At a technical level I define intelligence as the variance that’s common across a set of tests of cognitive ability.
SP: Explain that last part for us.
DZH: If you give a large sample of people a battery of cognitive tests, spatial ability, verbal ability, mathematical ability and so on, it turns out that someone who does well on one test is going to tend to well on all the others. This common factor we call “psychometric G”, or "g" for general.
SP: How do we currently measure intelligence?
DZH: We measure intelligence with tests that are designed to tap into cognitive processes like retrieving information from memory, manipulating mental visual images, and making rapid judgments about stimuli, as well as tests that require analytical reasoning where you have to make deductions of inferences.
SP: Presumably this is involved in IQ testing. What does IQ really mean?
DZH: IQ is an index of that general factor. In a standardized IQ test people take a bunch of sub-tests. They take tests of comprehension, and special reasoning, etc. IQ is a summary measure that reflects performance across all of those things.
But there is intense speculation still about what IQ really is. It could reflect the sort of the efficiencies and the processes involving working memory and attention. It could reflect strategies for processing information and solving problems. It certainly reflects brain function. But this is the million-dollar question for intelligence researchers: What exactly is intelligence?
SP: Because it’s a value that society deems important, and it has very real implications, right?
DZH: Well one thing we know for sure is that it’s practically useful. IQ, despite what people will say about being a meaningless number, predicts a lot of things. It predicts job performance better than any single variable that we know of. It predicts educational attainment, it predicts income, it predicts health, it predicts longevity even after you take into account sort of obvious confounding factors like socio-economic status. So it captures something important and something useful. If we were to no longer use IQ tests, for things like personnel tests of college admissions, it would cost society billions. IQ is the single best predictor of a lot of outcomes that we value in society.
SP: Is there any proven way to improve our intelligence?
DZH: There’s been all this focus on brain training and cognitive training. But there is not convincing evidence to support the claim by Lumosity and other companies that these programs have far-reaching beneficial effects on cognitive functioning. However, there is actually some evidence that physical exercise, ironically, does improve brain function. And there is something else we can do.
DZH: I talked about this distinction between fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence. Fluid intelligence is the ability to solve novel problems and crystallized intelligence is your knowledge acquired through experience.
Fluid intelligence is hard to improve. It’s not readily modifiable like weight. But crystallized intelligence can be improved. You can increase crystallized intelligence through reading. You learn. And this is a good thing to do. We want people to go into the voting booth with enough knowledge to make an informed decision about whom to vote for. And it can come from acquiring crystallized intelligence about the world that might be relevant to making good decisions.
- For more on how to improve your brain see SmartPlanet's The Key to a Better Brain is Exercise
May 28, 2012
The most substantial and relevant bit of that lengthy interview, for me, is this: "However, there is actually some evidence that physical exercise, ironically, does improve brain function"! While, interestingly, he inserts, "ironically"... it's not ironic at all, but just goes to show how intertwined our body and brain really are. The connection has been established for a long time :-)
I'm sure that the trend of brain games will develope more and more intensive in next several years.. But now most of people prefer simple online games, like this one: http://www.casinorussia.com/slots
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Most intelligence tests that I use at my job as a School Psychologist are limited in what they measure and routinely miss the importance nuances of why individuals do not learn at the same rate as others. Tests only record a snap shot of a person's performance at that moment in time. It is subject to physical, emotional and environmental factors that are not measured by these IQ tests. If you want to measure what these products can or can not do lets put them into practical applications in schools and measure some real life results. Does the rate of reading fluency increase, is reading comprehension better, does someone's "time-on-task" increase, does math fluency increase, does your confidence grow, is there a noticeable change in attentive behavior, etc..... I like that there was some scientific investigation and several studies run but I always question the findings. My biggest concern with what was reported in the article (the scientific paper may have totally different findings) was that only one cognitive ability was measured, Fluid Intelligence [G(f)]. If these products are designed to increase attention to task, short-term memory, and working memory then why not measure those abilities. Fluid intelligence is probably the hardest cognitive ability to change and would probably take months or years of training (Education) to mold and shape the processes required to alter those pathways in the brain. The repeated use of new neural pathways tends to increase the speed by which information travels in the brain and creates new links to other areas of the brain. Sitting down and working with these products can help promote brain activity. Just the act alone of giving an individual hope and some control over their ability to do better in school may motivate them to try harder and be more successful. Intelligence does not measure success. Motivation and creativity are much better measures of success, whether your yard stick is in monetary currency or happiness.
Is life. Actually learning to pay attention to the world around you. There are brilliant children born every day, and have been since mankind first stood upright, yet few wind up fulfilling that allegedly "science-based" prediction of success due to IQ. IQ labeled to be the "single best indicator..." of success? I think not. Matter of fact, such a statement strikes me as simply ludicrous. Today's society values conformity above all else. The really brilliant minds are either isolated and cultivated to be used by society's corporations (as regards their usefulness to create/increase profitability in some way) or are destined never to come to fruition because they are born into the wrong "socio-economic" class and are virtually ignored and abandoned by the educational system because they don't "fit" anywhere. My IQ was measured at a shade under 200 when I was 6 and I was "studied" for many years by sundry PhD candidates and government programs that helped me not at all and simply studied me like a lab animal until at age 13 I said "Enough." Most of my teachers (all public schools) were either jealous of me (and therefore often cruel) or they looked at me as if I had 2 heads and appeared frightened or intimidated by me. A few good ones kept me going. I felt increasingly like an outcast because of my intelligence. Add to that the fact that my family was what was probably considered by most to be "poor white trash": divorced mother working 3 jobs, alcoholic uncles and cousins moving in and out when they needed a place to stay, dirt poor but proud. At age 16, I had the highest college scores ever registered at my university at that time (tuition scholarship from the factory where my mom worked, minimal, since I was a girl). My "advisor" was the head of the psych department and rarely managed to raise his eyes above my bustline when we interacted, so I had to steer clear of him. Since one of my majors was abnormal psych, that wasn't easy. College? Pretty much a nightmare, all in all. I never finished. Yes, EQ matters. So does trauma. stress, and economic status. SO many other factors have monumental impact besides IQ when it comes to being successful that this article was...well....laughable. Brilliance has major downsides. when it comes to a busted college degree. I had opportunities to make 6 figure incomes but my conscience wouldn't allow it. I've never earned more than $30,000 a year except when I ran my own cleaning service...the lowest of the low employment, cleaning up other people's messes. Boring but lucrative. So I had to redefine success. And it's not the generally accepted interpretation. I worked for women's lib and had some success there in changing discriminatory practices in the insurance industry. I worked in Social Services and made lots of suggestions to improve the system and reduce administrative costs. I've advocated for the elderly, and I've brought down people who shouldn't have been in government. My own small success stories. But I'm generally cash-poor, so I'm not a "success" by society's definition. I shop at goodwill more often than not. LOVE Goodwill and their recycling of useful things. I have known MANY brilliant minds in my time. Not one of them...NOT ONE... has had anything close to a successful career. Three managed a PBK Key, one was editor of his law review, another, a brilliant musician, went into the priesthood. Two committed suicide. And on and on. I've known lots of "ordinary" minded people who have been wildly successful. I've known an allegedly "mentally challenged" young man who made a fool out of his detractors by graduating from college and becoming a successful engineer. So IQ AIN'T the determining factor in success. It may even surprise you to know that many of the street people are gifted. But they don't fit in. What Lumosity does is make people think they are learning using processes which often lie fallow after so many years at the same job. A slightly different take on Descartes' "Cogito, ergo sum", if you will. I tried it, it was fun and fairly easy to master. But it didn't have the price tag of $10 a YEAR that someone mentioned! If it had, I'd have bought it just for the fun of it.
I agree! Thousands of brain-training games online mostly don't work. Some are difficult to understand that's why it's hard to get. There are also games that have no sense. - http://www.appliedergonomics.com/
These "expert" (there is always someone ready to bash something else) claim that Lumosity and brain games can't make us more clever, and what solution do they come up with? Study harder, improve personal relationships, talk to clever people? Noo ladies and gentlemen, you should do more sport. Marathon runners and endurance cyclists must have an outstanding IQ.
I spent one week registering items in a tool lending situation by reading off the numbers instead of scanning, and dialing numbers by hand instead of just punching up the name on my cellie. I found that in just two days, I had pretty much memorized them all with no effort (and just a few mistakes). [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9d_MM9osyUU]bin
I spent one week registering items in a tool lending situation by reading off the numbers instead of scanning, and dialing numbers by hand instead of just punching up the name on my cellie. I found that in just two days, I had pretty much memorized them all with no effort (and just a few mistakes). banc de swiss bin
But it might help those of us with memory transfer problems. See http://ezinearticles.com/?Improving-Short-Term-Memory-If-You-Have-Aspergers-Syndrome-Or-Nonverbal-Learning-Disorder&id=3098498
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"They take tests of comprehension, and special reasoning, etc." Should probably be: "They take tests of comprehension, and spatial reasoning, etc." I'm surprised you didn't ask about EQ, which is largely proffered as the 2.0 version of IQ. DZH says that IQ is predictive of performance, but I'm fairly certain that EQ is promoted as more accurately predicting socio-economic success in life. Also, the statement that brain-training doesn't increase fluid intelligence doesn't seem to exclude the possibility of increasing crystallized intelligence. Brain-training might be mode-specific (so if you play solitaire or sudoku all day, that's what you become excellent at) but that doesn't mean it has no application. Probably the "games" available online aren't very helpful, though.
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There are two different things being a bit muddled together here. One is memorized knowledge, the other is the intelligence that uses this knowledge. One without the other is not much good. You might be knowledgeable or "wise" in that You have read and studied much. But without intelligence You are just a walking factbook. Or You can be very intelligent, but without facts You have nothing to work with, base new ideas upon. There are many ways to train Your memory, fewer to train Your intelligence, but by training Your memory and increasing it, You are giving Your intelligence more "building blocks" to work with. So in a way You can expand Your intelligence, even if not actually "train" it. One of my mottos is: "An intelligent person can get out of situations that a wise person never gets into." As for mindtraining programs: if You enjoy them, use them. An enjoyed life is better than a smart life. Being smart can be very arduous.
I spent one week registering items in a tool lending situation by reading off the numbers instead of scanning, and dialing numbers by hand instead of just punching up the name on my cellie. I found that in just two days, I had pretty much memorized them all with no effort (and just a few mistakes). Sometimes progress doesn't.
When I was young, my parents did not allow me to play any street game. They always want me to play mind games. But with this study, I think I can now argue this with parents. Thanks for publishing this [url=http://essays.mightystudents.com/]essay[/url].
PBS has aired several shows from NOVA and Frontline on the brain including how we learn and the growth spurts that occur in stages that make learning possible... There is no game that is going to make anyone grow more neurons. There is no game that will make anyone smarter. If you want a smart kid, give them proper nutrition (organic foods are far better and more nutritious than anything else), help them develop a love of reading and learning, donât stagnate their learning with a boring classroom, help, love, and nurture them. Learning games are nothing more than snake oil and wishful thinking.
oh trust me it definitely makes your brain smarter- im a chess player and i know what it feels like when you are pushing your brain to the limits and i've seen games on luminosity that give me the same feeling but in some ways in a far more intense manner because it is so specified (the luminosity game exercises) ...after training on luminosity i've gone on to play chess and have been much much faster and far more efficient- trust me these brain games really work but you cant be lazy, you really have to use your brain power and you will see instant results- trust me its worth the money
I think the key to improving memory, at least, is learning new things, therefore creating new pathways in the circuitry of your brain. If all you do are crossword puzzles daily to help keep your mind sharp, you get good only at crossword puzzle patterns. Crossword puzzles by myself are frustrating but I have a friend who thinks differently than I and when we've done crosswords together, they become fun and I found I have learned a different way to think. Trying new things can create these new synapses in your brain. I think you must do different things every day. It could be as easy as organizing a drawer one day, taking a walk somewhere new, taking a class, joining a group of some kind, to stimulate your brain. I read an article in the last year or two in Scientific American Mind that made sense to me, otherwise I can't cite anything to back this up. As the button below says, "Add Your Opinion." This is mine.
I would like to see this research expanded to include treatment of the ADD/Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder individual. I am using a feedback program called Play Attention with my 8 year old and it has helped tremendously, it is working. Unlike other brain-training programs, this one does not focus on intellect, it is a behavior shaping program that helps her focus, pay attention and avoid distraction. It was developed by a teacher who wanted to help his students with this different nature without the side effects of medication. It is based on NASA technology and the company's premise is that the mind does have the capacity to grow, change and adapt. I believe it because I see it: she now has friends, her grades are up and she is doing great in school.
*** WARNING - my english is not very good - might have commited grammatical murder in the major third degree *** Stop being so straight-forward, guys and gals. "Psychologists have been interested in the idea of improving intelligence for over a century." And yet, only in 2008 we had some research that BARELY scratched the surface. Now it's already proven to be wrong. That does not mean, however, that brain training games don't work. We need more studies about that. I concur with the guy who commented that learning a musical instrument, a language or dance or anything that will require a huge concentration and mind effort will be probably better than a brain-game. The thing is that those activities requires so much time, and in this busy society we live in, for some it's just not possible to commit time to those. I can see the attractive those brain games have. They don't take much of your time. Only 20 minutes per day and you will get good results eventually, just like the gym (people usually train for 40 minutes to 1 hour). I guess we need to wait for more research on this are, and just stop jumping to conclusions. Or we can become scientists and help =D
Is fluid intelligence determined at conception, birth or during early years? If it is fixed at conception there is nothing we can do to change it. If it develops in the period prior to birth, maybe we can. If it develops during early years we can influence it by education (in a broad sense). Seems to me it is one of the [b]most important questions for science to answer.[/b]
These 'brain training' games are being aggressively and attractively marketed even though research does not support their effectiveness. I suspect that they are attractive to companies selling them as they are marketable and a good money spinner, whereas we like to buy them because they seem like a fun and easy way to help ourselves. In fact, the research clearly shows that we really don't need to buy anything at all in order to 'train' our brains and prepare ourselves for good cognitive health as we age. It confirms, rather, that cognitively healthy people eat and sleep well, exercise daily, keep socially engaged and are active and learn new things. This is a lifestyle not a product!
For me, brain training has really helped. Whether my IQ is higher or not, I do not know. I do know that my quality of life has improved greatly. I did brain training on my android phone first. I got such great gains in my memory, that I tried Lumosity. With in a few days working with the free trial, I knew I was gaining. I was 49 at the time and it was like a brain fog began to lift. I read someone complaining money was involved like it was evil to make money on something that is helping people. Well, I am a businessman and my labors and investment need to be compensated. Bill Gates, Steven Jobs, Andrew Carnegie all are business men that took something to the next level and gained. Therefore, why is Lumosity wrong when so many people are gaining in their quality of life. I signed up for Lumosity at around 20 million users in May. Rachel recently signed up and her number was around 25 million. In only three lessons she noticed that her recall for peoples names she met on the phone were improving greatly. She is a purchasing rep in a very high paced hospital. Lets look at the success of the company and realize word of mouth is causing Lumosity to grow along with advertising but let's face it, 5 million more users in under a year, doesn't that speak for itself? Both Rachel and I tell any body that will listen what a gain Lumosity is for us. My memory is the most important part to me that has improved. Overall on Lumosity I am in the 99.3rd percentile. I didn't start there but I have been faithful. On two world wide android brain training games, I have been on the leader board for months as high as 24th and 14th in problem solving and memory but this Lumosity has taken my brain to another level. I recommend brain training games highly. They may or may not increase IQ but for myself, Rachel and the guy a ways above me, our lives have been improved.
that smart planet would be home to so many stupid commentators! Can't wait to see the study; sounds very interesting.
The logic behind these brain games is to help increase a person's capacity for learning, not to make them instantly smarter. How can a person become smarter by repeating the same type of information over and over? Along those lines with an example, how can one swiftly read through a book and instantly "learn it?" They can't without experience and training. When a person reads a book, they have to take time to logically think through the message of the book so that they gain insight as to understand what the author is saying. The logic here is limitless, but going along with the example of the book, these games help the brain to more swiftly break the information down into something more understandable for one to remember. Most of the games on Luminosity's brain trainer mobile app are geared at working faster with fewer mistakes. I use Luminosity's Brain Trainer app on my iPhone and have done so for roughly 2 months. To me, it was well worth the $10 a year. Some of the benefits I realize I have gained of many are that I do a better job of having conversations with people in that I am better able to process what is being said to me and come back with an intelligent response of my own. I'm also more efficient at memory tasks especially at picture memory. One small example is I can write a note down on a stickie note and even if I can't remember exactly what I wrote, I can tend to pull a picture of the note in my head and read what was written on it. In addition, I no longer have to rely on my wife to remind me of most events (except for those I don't want to do and she makes sure to remind me). In math, I no longer get brain cramps when doing many arithmetic equations. I took statistics last year and only about half of it made sense. I had to break the work down into 15-20 min segments because I'd get a headache and have to stop. Now, I have no issues spending 2-3+ hours working with numbers. Probably the biggest benefit gained has been getting rid of the headaches. This may also be from me working sudoku puzzles in tangent with doing the training apps. I wanted to get past the point to where I no longer had headaches and be forced to quit working my brain. I forced myself to keep doing both sudoku puzzles and the training apps through the headache doing a little more each day. Now unless I don't get enough sleep (less than 7 hours), it usually takes a few hours before I get these headaches and even then I'm usually able to continue working through them unlike before. At the end of the day, it all boils down to what you do with this information. If you perceive that it's a waste of time, then it will be. It's also about getting past just being satisfied, and being motivated to learn. For me, these training games get and keep my brain in a state motivated to learn. If you want to work on being "smarter" a book I'd recommend is "Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life" by Richard Paul.
with due respect to Prof Hambrick & colleagues, it didn't take a study for me to "get" lumosity. I saw the $signs. but thanx for the report. it would have been nice to think i might train my brain.
These meaningless exercises are useless [i]precisely[/i] because they are useless. To improve your effective intellegance, learn to play an instrument, take up a form of structured dance (ballroom, Contradance, square dancing, various ethnic dance forms) a martial art (I'm partial to Ki Aikido) even learn a new language (programming or human) or environment (I'm currently exploring the 1&1 Linux ecosystem. . .) Whatever you learn make it something which is not left behind after the lesson.
It's something when you're answering actual text questions in a subject like math, that you can actually understand. But a lot of these things are just the ability to figure out visual patterns. What's the big deal?
we learn new things daily and retain that knowledge,it is impossible to thing brain training doe not work
I'd like for you to give me your exact IQ number, because even though you obviously have a way with words statements such as ; "a shade under 200", raises my BS meter to level critical... and who were these people? Maybe I know them?
well even more important question is... what is intelligence??? as for an uneducated person can be intelligent. As, Darwin simply went around the world and collected species and tried to make sense out of evollution. Should intelligence be a measure of how fast and how well you grasp things?? and then how fast you can utilize the info you know in a certain scenario? Intelligence can not be measured, just like how much info is stored in an individuals brain cannot be measured. As, a lot of biotic and abiotic factors play a role when a person is processing/storing info and everyone does it differently. For eg: Some people need the feel of pressure to bring out the best in them and some people perform poorly under pressure.
"It confirms, rather, that cognitively healthy people eat and sleep well, exercise daily, keep socially engaged and are active and learn new things. This is a lifestyle not a product! " I couldn't agree more.
Unfortunately, too many people are under the impression that one can't use both critical thinking and a little bit of fairh. I agree that people who come into this with a negative attitude will almost certainly confirm that this system doesn't work. But critical thinking is not supposed to be "negative thinking". To think critically means to be skeptical, but in a wholesome way. It means you come into something with an open mind, curious to explore, not deciding in advance what the outcome will or should be. I decided to try Lumosity a month ago, wondering if it could help with my ADD. There have been times in my life where my ADD was so debilitating I couldn't read anymore, and I found this extremely frustrating. So I decided to try something that might help, knowing of course it might not. But why not give it a try? Well, I did, and I'm thrilled about it. After a month of training 3 to 6 days a week, I have increased my capacity to concentrate, retain information, keep calmer under pressure, and solve various kinds of problems. I wouldn't say I'm smarter than I was before (and no one ever promised that, anyway), but I'm very pleased with the fact that a month ago, I couldn't focus long enough to read 5 pages of a book, whereas now I can easily read for 2 hours. Of course some could argue that I could've trained at something else for the same length of time and perhaps get the same result, but when I tried other things (playing chess, doing sudokus or crossword puzzles) a month ago all it did was to make me frustrated because my mind would just shut off after minutes. Lumosity's games did the opposite, and I plan on continuing playing them and training my brain this way. Yes, it costs around 15$ a month, but to me, it's worth it.
Sorry, but one person's subjective experience has been proven over and over again to be extremely unreliable. That's exactly why the scientific method was established.
This is a very good answer. If you want to learn something just do it. As an octogenarian I recall those who were called up for military service and had to learn a lot in a short while, and their lives depended on it. They learnt quickly. Those returning from war had lost five years of their lives doing jobs that had no purpose in peace time. They had to learn new skills quickly as their livelyhood depended on it. They learnt quickly. Learning useless skills takes you nowhere. My granny was brilliant at crosswords as she sat in a chair all day doing them.
It's quite possible that "brain training" works, but this study showed that the kind of training used in the original study did NOT work.
In our society intelligence means, the ability to perform economically and socially in society. So it can be measured...The same distinction is given to sanity or lack of mental disorder.. funny enough. The dichotomy between those that score the highest on IQ tests and still can't perform economically or socially, has more to do with philosophical question and so, it is not measurable... therefore an Anomaly. So far we've only been able to measure things that are tangible. The limits of our abilities to measure the intangible are laughable. Maybe somewhere in the middle is where true intelligence lies... but what the fuck do I know? I've found that the best way to improve your life and brain is to practice being aware.
I guess such kind of brain training programs are merely helpful to improve brain's development!!! http://www.memnem.com/