Who wouldn't want to improve their brain function simply by playing some games or doing some brain training exercises? (If doing homework or reading counts as a brain training exercise, though, there are plenty of students who don't seem to want to better their brains.) Brain games are getting popular (have you seen any Lumosity ads recently?), and there are already plenty of educational software programs for skills like learning foreign languages. Some of these brain games claim to help you maintain your cognitive skills as you get older, and there's even some evidence that these claims could be true. Here are just a few examples of brain games that could help keep us all mentally fit for decades to come.
- A 10-year long study of older adults shows that certain kinds of brain training exercises can have long-lasting, measurable (and beneficial) effects. Hundreds of volunteers (2,832) were divided into four groups for a control group and groups receiving memory, reasoning, and speed-of-processing training -- and the groups with reasoning and speed training showed significantly less decline in those cognitive skills. Unfortunately, it looks like memory training doesn't slow memory loss as we age.... [url]
- People over 60 might want to consider playing some brain training video games for a few weeks. Researchers created a (kinda lame) video game called NeuroRacer, and elderly volunteers who played it showed improvements in memory, attention and multi-tasking abilities. [url]
- Brain training video games are a multi-million-dollar industry, but the actual benefits of commercial brain games have yet to be rigorously studied -- or if they've been studied, the games show little to no real benefits. Hopefully, game makers will eventually succeed in making games that match their brain-boosting claims. [url]
If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post