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Author Topic: Brain-training games aren't all they're cracked up to be.  (Read 798 times)

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Offline ParadoxTopic starter

Brain-training games aren't all they're cracked up to be.
« on: April 20, 2010, 05:17:18 PM »
This is related to DarklingAlice's recent thread about Tetris, but it has a distinctly different focus; apparently, all of those brain-training games probably do not have much of a benefit after all.

You can read a simple version of the findings here, or you can read the actual study here.


Basically, the study found that such brain-training exercises only improve your performance on that specific game, as opposed to improving your overall mental agility as had previously been thought. Given the fact that the study used 11,430 subjects, I trust the results of this study a bit more than the results of a study that supported brain-training, which only used pre-schoolers.

However, after having read the actual study on Nature, I believe that this only applies to certain types of brain games. As mentioned in the article, a recent study found that a different type of game improved working memory, so perhaps this study has limited applicability.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Brain-training games aren't all they're cracked up to be.
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2010, 05:24:00 PM »
I would suspect that using a wide variety of brain trainers would be better than a single focus.  Much like you can't keep your body in shape with a single exercise (despite what late-night infomercials would like you to believe), you can't keep your various cognitive functions in shape with a single mental exercise.

Offline ParadoxTopic starter

Re: Brain-training games aren't all they're cracked up to be.
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2010, 05:30:51 PM »
That's a very good point, and that's precisely why I think that the results lack overall applicability. I'd be interested to see if they do a follow-up study that uses more than the four games presented in this study. The amount of people was impressive, so now they just need to increase the battery of games.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Brain-training games aren't all they're cracked up to be.
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2010, 05:39:29 PM »
Interesting reading, thank you Paradox!

Offline mystictiger

Re: Brain-training games aren't all they're cracked up to be.
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2010, 12:58:01 PM »
I'm skeptical of any analogy drawn to muscles when discussing brain function.

There was an interesting paper regarding Alzheimer's Disease I read a few months back - education does not protect one from AD, rather it masks the symptoms. You build a greater degree of cognitive reserve.

I suspect that Brain Gym and related products are the magic-pill equivalent of mental performance. There's only one way to get a 'good brain' and that's the hard way - be keep intellectually active, alert, awake and by learning New Things.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Brain-training games aren't all they're cracked up to be.
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2010, 01:10:14 PM »
I only used that analogy in the sense that if you use a function repeatedly, whether that's the motion of an arm or advanced Calculus, you're more likely to retain the use of that function.  If you cease using a function completely, you tend to lose the same sort of fluidity that you previously enjoyed - again, whether that's through muscular atrophy or simply forgetting.  Subsequent to that loss, it generally takes a certain amount of 'rehab' (exercises, perhaps gradually increasing in complexity) to regain that ability.

The 'Brain Gym' games, from what I've seen, focus on keeping the player thinking, even on some low level.  Me, I prefer the Sunday Times crossword and Sudoku.  In ink

Offline Vekseid

Re: Brain-training games aren't all they're cracked up to be.
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2010, 07:58:10 PM »
Quote
...
The recruits were then split into three groups who spent the next six weeks doing different brain-training tests on the BBC Lab UK website, for at least 10 minutes a day, three times a week.
...

...color me skeptical >_>

Offline LaurenMichelle

Re: Brain-training games aren't all they're cracked up to be.
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2010, 04:01:44 PM »
Kind of interesting... kind of thought that already, but since I haven't played any of them, didn't know. My mom on the other hand has several for her Nintendo DS and swears by them. I don't know.

Offline AmandaBear1776

Re: Brain-training games aren't all they're cracked up to be.
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2010, 01:22:18 AM »
Tetris was suppose to be a mind sharpening game? I thought that was prime video gaming in the 70's like Pong was in the.... back in the day.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Brain-training games aren't all they're cracked up to be.
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2010, 02:16:57 AM »
It's a puzzle game - you have to think about where to put each piece, and the better you can visualize spacial relations, the better you tend to do.  Pong, you just had to move the paddle in front of the ball.