Are you thinking of investing in a brain-training game? Perhaps you regularly misplace keys or forget people’s names and think it could help. Maybe you simply want to see an improvement in your overall cognitive functioning, for instance, in carrying out your daily tasks.
If you’ve been wondering whether or not to invest your time and money in this way, it looks like you might be better off keeping your cash and going for a walk instead. That’s because findings presented in the current issue of Psychological Science in the Public Interest indicate that “brain training” programs generally fall short of their advertised effectiveness.
Findings presented in the current issue of Psychological Science in the Public Interest indicate that “brain training” programs generally fall short of their advertised effectiveness
A general claim of the multi-billion dollar “brain-training” industry, is that playing simple cognitive games can improve real-world performance on tasks that matter in our daily lives. But can a single intervention really have such far-reaching benefits? The authors of the review explored this question, by focusing on the claims made by the companies promoting brain-training products and “the evidence used to support those claims”.
The review found that although brain-training tasks can improve performance on the trained tasks themselves, there is less evidence that this type of cognitive training improves performance on even closely related tasks. And as for distantly related tasks, the research showed very little evidence that performance could be improved. So in other words, if you want to get better at doing crossword puzzles, keep on doing crossword puzzles. But don’t expect to be composing symphonies or standing on your head any time soon on account of it (unless of course, you’ve been composing symphonies and standing on your head while doing them).
Source: Psychological Science in the Public Interest – Do “Brain-Training” Programs Work?
Also see: Scientific American U.S. Cracking Down on ‘Brain Training’ Games / Association for Psychological Science Do “Brain-Training” Programs Work? / Harvard Health – Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills