Brain Training, Neuroscience Based Learning: Does It Work?
Over the last ten years there's been an explosion of heavily marketing "brain games", or claims that certain kinds of mental activities can stave off brain deterioration, and improve memory, concentration, and thinking.
Often these activities are based on the rather simple idea that the brain is like a muscle, and that if certain faculties are left unused they decay, which is a common sense approach with great appeal for many of us.
These products, and activities are backed by more money than serious brain research, and while it may turn out that there is some gains for "exercising the brain", the evidence, AT THIS POINT from a pure scientific view, is inconclusive.
In this section we'll look at some of the references and articles on this issue: whether these "brain exercises and games" actually help cognition, or whether their primary purpose is to separate naive and hopeful customers from their money.
Top : Cognitive And Brain Training :
Over the last years, scientists have talked about brain plasticity, which suggests that even older people can change how their brains work, because they are much more flexible than previously thought. That's given rise to claims, perhaps warranted, perhaps not, about exercises to improve brain functioning, thinking, and memory. That's what we'll look at in this section.
More bad news on the effectiveness of brain games, citing a meta-analysis that found little improvement across tasks, from using brain games. Quote: "The conclusion: the games may yield improvements in the narrow task being trained, but this does not transfer to broader skills like the ability to read or do arithmetic, or to other measures of intelligence. Playing the games makes you better at the games, in other words, but not at anything anyone might care about in real life." The article focuses on effects on "working memory" and looks at whether brain games can be effective with cognitive disabilities or ADHD. Hits: 726 )
In the interests of balance, here are some whitepapers and "research" that are alleged to support the effectiveness of the LearningRX Program. Note that this page of resources is hosted by that commercial company, and without knowing the methods used in the research, it's impossible to evaluate the "findings". Hits: 707 )
There are many claims for the effectiveness of brain training, often from online vendors trying to make money. In this article, which focuses on the online world of brain training exercises, we see that we should treat the claims as suspect. Hits: 893 )
Less of a psychological analysis than a scathing commentary on Luminosity, which may be fair. You have to decide on your own. Some 255 comments to the article. Hits: 650 )
Some clinicians using the CogMed Program feel it's useful for ADHD sufferers, but the cost is about $2,000 per family, and while it may help with working memory, there's no evidence to suggest it helps with "fluid intelligence". Hits: 795 )
Your probably believe these myths about how the brain works. They are commonly believed, but just plain wrong. Hits: 620 )
From The BBC, learn WHY the brain training "research" is flawed and doesn't support the claims of commercial producers of the games. Learn also about the BBC attempt to do a little research on its own via the "Bang Goes The Theory " site. Hits: 842 )
Conclusion is, "we don't know", but some key points: The article suggests there IS evidence that brain games, or for that matter, any brain stimulation can ward off dementia and alzheimers, but also suggests there's nothing in brain games that can't be had by doing puzzles or keeping busy mentally. Ultimately, one prove means to stay sharp is actually physical exercise. Hits: 949 )
A look at whether brain training, medication, nutritional supplements, meditation, exercise, actually enhance cognition, when you look at the scientific research. Quick result? Exercise (physical) is the winner. Hits: 685 )
From Scientific American this article points out that claims for brain games are NOT yet substantiated by human research, and that the majority of the research that has shown effectiveness of enriched environments has been done on rodents. Excerpt: "To date, more than 50 studies have examined the benefits of brain training in humans but only a handful have tested whether or not the benefits persist and transfer over to real life." What works: Good diet, exercise and socializing with real people. Great article. Hits: 851 )
Dissertation report on positive effects of brain training, and you can download the complete dissertation: Excerpt: Pfister's findings were that, in the students studied, LearningRx brain training improved processing speed by an average of 15 percentile points, and also increased age-equivalency scores by 2.27 years. In working memory, the gains were even greater: LearningRx brain training improved working memory by an average of 21 percentile points, and the increase in age equivalence was 3.34 years. In his conclusion, Pfister writes, "This study definitely answers the question as to whether cognitive rehabilitation therapy works. The answer is an emphatic 'yes.'" Hits: 755 )
This study from Tufts University found that neurofeedback and cognitive training were helpful in helping ADHD children improve concentration, but only the neurofeedback group resulted in less hyperactive and inappropriate behavior over time. Hits: 688 )
I hope you can see some of the complexities involved in this kind of research, and why it's not simply a matter of "brain games are bogus." In my view, the field really needs to evolve beyond the search for broad conclusions to look at more nuanced effects, including a consideration of different intervention programs, and multiple environmental and personal factors. Hits: 530 )
Lumonsity has a huge amount of data about millions of users of its brain games, and scientists are looking to see whether this big data can actually help to understand how brains work, and how people think. Not about effectiveness of brain games per se but about the use of the data. Hits: 724 )
One of the fewer articles that is not negative about the effectiveness of brain training, the author suggests we're asking the wrong questions, and that we shouldn't be looking at whether it works IN GENERAL, but when it will work, and for whom. Interesting take and suggests that honestly, science doesn't have a definitive answer. Hits: 709 )
This doesn't really answer the question that's in the title, but it's a post that's garnered a number of comments from luminosity users. Hits: 680 )
The largest trial to date of 'brain-training' computer games suggests that people who use the software to boost their mental skills are likely to be disappointed. The study, a collaboration between British researchers and the BBC Lab UK website, recruited viewers of the BBC science programme Bang Goes the Theory to practise a series of online tasks for a minimum of ten minutes a day, three times a week, for six weeks. In one group, the tasks focused on reasoning, planning and problem-solving abilities -- skills correlated with general intelligence. A second group was trained on mental functions targeted by commercial brain-training programs -- short-term memory, attention, visuospatial abilities and maths. A third group, the control subjects, simply used the Internet to find answers to obscure questions. A total of 11,430 volunteers aged from 18 to 60 completed the study, and although they improved on the tasks, the researchers believe that none of the groups boosted their performance on tests measuring general cognitive abilities such as memory, reasoning and learning. "There were absolutely no transfer effects" from the training tasks to more general tests of cognition. Hits: 489 )
Press release, so note that this study may have a bias. Findings suggest that brain games may have a positive effect on breast cancer patients who are experiencing cognitive and mood difficulties as a result of the illness and treatment. Hits: 784 )
In this interview with book author Dan Hurley, we look at the state of cognitive training, whether it works and where it is going. Hits: 535 )
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Pages Updated On: 5-Oct-2018 - 12:05:12