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Does Lumosity and other ‘brain-exercises’ help stave off the negative effects of aging on the brain? Or are these exercises the result of some guy with a website making wild claims? There’s plenty of evidence on both sides. If you wanted to make a ‘brain game’ to keep people actively engaged, all you would need is a Hostpapa coupon code and a freelance app developer to make a simple game that requires you to problem solve puzzles. Is it that hard? If you need photography for your website, you can get royalty-free images here.
How Effective is the Lumosity-Style Brain Exercise?
Lumosity is a wildly popular brain exercise website. Promoted by heavyweights in neuroscience, it has been around since 2007. The aim of the website is to give your brain a workout just the way a gym would work your body out. The website has several dozen brain exercise games that draw on a new area of neuroscience called neuroplasticity. This is the science of reshaping the brain’s internal pathways to make for more efficient cognitive performance. Brain exercise games like Lumosity’s offer fun ways to achieve this.
Lumosity has audiences in every age group – from middle school children to retirees. Anecdotal evidence suggests that people do find that these brain exercise games help them perform better in life. Some children are reported to play Lumosity games obsessively in a way children usually play video games.
Getting started with the brain exercise games on Lumosity?
Open an account with Lumosity (it costs about $80 a year) and you are right away encouraged to custom-build a brain exercise program that’s right for you. You get five kinds of exercises to pick from – for problem solving, memory, flexibility, speed and attention. If you would like to improve your memory, it asks you to name what you find unsatisfactory about your memory now – do you misplace things or forget people’s names.
After you answer all the multiple-choice questions about the kind of improvement you look for, the website builds your own personalized brain training program. You also get an estimate of the kind of improvement you can hope for with Lumosity’s exercises. Usually, people are promised improvement in excess of 50% over a few months of training. Lumosity doesn’t ask for more than 15 minutes of your time each day.
What kind of games do they use to achieve the results promised?
One brain exercise tries to train your brain to handle information faster and more reliably by testing memory and nimbleness. They show you a colored shape for a second and then show you another one to follow. Your job is to quickly find out if it’s the same. It can be difficult to tell because the differences, if any, tend to be subtle ones. You need to answer as many questions correctly as you can in less than a minute. It’s a surprisingly addictive experience.
Another game tests your ability to do simple calculations quickly. You get little raindrops dropping through your screen, each one with a simple arithmetic problem. You need to quickly solve each problem before the raindrop that contains it splashes into the bottom of your screen. If you let three problems go unsolved, you lose.
Lumosity has many different brain exercise options, depending on what brain skills you wish to hone. On one word game, you are given a word stem made of three letters – like tri or com. Your assignment is to create many words that begin with the stem. The difficult part is that all the words need to be the same length.
Does this kind of brain exercise really help?
Lumosity offers no guarantees that its exercises will work. They state, though, that their users report a 20% improvement in brain performance after just a few hours of playing their games. A study done by Stanford in 2010, called “Brain Injury,” reports that brain injury patients see great improvements with Lumosity’s games.
The April 2009 issue of Scientific American backs brain exercise computer games as possibly useful. The article says in the end, though, that there is nothing about these games that should make them more effective than any other challenging activity such as learning a new language.