Cognitive Benefits of Exercise Outshine Brain- Training Games. Experts who track the health and wellness applications of brain science calculate that consumers spent $7. They project that spending on these games could skyrocket to $3.
Clearly, the brain- training industry is big business. Unfortunately, a growing number of recent studies have found very little empirical evidence that brain- training programs marketed to "boost brain power" actually improve overall cognitive function in a meaningful way.
The underwhelming cognitive benefits of brain- training games were reaffirmed (yet again) in a new study led by Neil Charness, professor of psychology at Florida State University (FSU). Charness is a pioneering researcher and thought leader on lifestyle behaviors that help to preserve cognition as we age. He’s also Director of The Institute for Successful Longevity. The latest paper by Charness and colleagues at FSU, “Evidence for Narrow Transfer after Short- Term Cognitive Training in Older Adults,” was published in the journal Frontiers in Aging. Neuroscience. For this study, the researchers were curious to see if cerebral challenges—such as digital brain- training games, crossword puzzles, and Sudoku—improved everyday cognitive functions related to working memory, which is involved in complex reasoning, abstract thinking, processing speed, etc. Walter Boot, who is also an expert on age- related cognitive decline at Florida State University, helped devise the protocol of this study.
First, one group of participants played a brain- training video game called "Mind Frontiers" while another group of players performed crossword games or solved number puzzles. Second, the researchers tested if any of the games actually enhanced working memory. Charness and Boot's findings debunk the myth that brain- training games improve cognition in a way that can enhance cerebral performance in other areas of your life. Yes. If you practice a specific game regularly, your mental dexterity and prowess at that specific game will improve. Ces Fireside Young Adults. But the “far transfer” ability of brain- training programs to create other "real- world" benefits is minuscule because these games do not appear to improve working memory. But there is good news: Charness is quick to point out that aerobic exercise—not sedentary mental exercise—is the most effective activity researchers have found to ward off age- related cognitive decline and improve working memory. He notes that physical exercise can actually cause beneficial structural changes in the brain and boost its function.
Charness predicts that "exer- gaming," which combines exercise with brain games, will increase in popularity throughout the 2. In a statement to FSU, Charness said, "I wouldn't come away from our article totally discouraged. It's another piece of the puzzle that we're all trying to assemble.
It's discouraging in the sense that we can't find far transfer and that seems to be a fairly consistent finding in research. But if your real goal is to improve cognitive function and brain games are not helping, then maybe you are better off getting aerobic exercise rather than sitting in front of the computer playing these games."After reading the latest FSU study and Charness’ statement, I reached out to him directly via email to dig deeper into the brain benefits of aerobic exercise.
Additionally, I was curious to learn if he had any tips regarding an ideal “prescriptive dose” of aerobic exercise or physical activity that would result in the most cognitive benefits as someone gets older. In my email I also wrote, “Neil Charness, do you have a personal hypothesis backed by specific empirical evidence that explains why aerobic exercise stimulates structural changes to the brain and boosts cognitive function better than brain- training games? Lastly, is there anything else about your research you’d like to share with Psychology Today readers?”Neil Charness responded, “I don’t know that the issue is at all settled about effective dose and duration for getting the greatest benefit from aerobic exercise, but would point to the work on aerobic exercise by the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign group (Colcombe, Kramer, Behrer, and colleagues) for evidence about the benefits of frequent brisk walking for seniors (or at least, sedentary seniors).
It’s not that brain training doesn’t work. It does improve what is trained, but the problem seems to be in showing general cognitive gains and far transfer. As the 2. 01. 6 review I was a part of, Do 'Brain- Training' Programs Work? makes clear.)"Charness added, “The meta- analyses (e. Colcombe & Kramer, 2. Smith et al., 2. 01.
Cognitive Brain Training in Older Adults. Fit Brains offers 60+ different training games, each targeting one of five cognitive domains - executive functions. Can Brain Training Lower Your Risk of Dementia? Cognitive training to promote brain health has generated a lot. But manufacturers of brain games have been. Brain training games. The findings suggest that in young adults such commercial brain-training games. and so it's possible that cognitive-training games.
- Do Brain Training Games Actually Improve Cognitive Function? not brain-training games. activities that may benefit cognitive and physical health of older adults.
- Cognitive Health and Older Adults. Formal cognitive training also seems. Be wary of claims that playing certain computer and online games can improve your.
I’m not an expert on neurobiology, but the proposed mechanisms of neurogenesis, angiogenesis, and synaptogenesis to beef up brain functioning look plausible for explaining generalized gains in cognition.
Brain Training' Games May Be No Better than Video Games, Study Finds. Brain- training games such as those from Lumosity may not boost people's overall thinking abilities or help them make "smarter" decisions, a new study suggests. Researchers analyzed information from 1. Lumosity games or computer video games for 1. The makers of Lumosity products claim that the games may boost people's cognitive functions, such as memory, attention and problem solving; the program adjusts the games' difficulty depending on people's performance. In contrast, the video games aren't intended to improve cognitive performance and don't adjust in difficulty. The study found that the people who played Lumosity games did get better at those specific games.
The term cognitive training. and for adults as. preyed on consumers' fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off. Short term memory teaches you how to process information (both.
But the people didn't perform any better on standard tests of memory, attention or other cognitive tasks, as compared to those people who played the video games. Ways to Keep Your Mind Sharp]. Participants who played the Lumosity games also failed to show differences in brain activity during decision- making tasks in a lab, and they were no less likely to make risky or impulsive decisions, as compared to those who played the video games. The findings suggest that in young adults such commercial brain- training games appear "to have no effects beyond those of standard video games" on brain activity, decision making or cognition, the researchers, from the University of Pennsylvania, wrote in the July 1. The Journal of Neuroscience. Despite the claims that the makers of brain- training games have made, it has not been clear whether these games actually help people with real- world thinking or whether people who play the games simply get better at completing the specific tasks in the games, the researchers said.
In 2. 01. 6, Lumos Labs (maker of Lumosity games) paid $2 million dollars to settle charges of false advertising brought by the Federal Trade Commission. The company had said that its games could lead to success in school and at work and delay the declines in thinking abilities that normally come with age. The company now says on its website that more research is needed to determine whether the games help people with tasks in their everyday lives.
Some small studies have suggested that brain- training games may shift people's decision- making away from immediate and more risky rewards and toward delayed rewards or less risky choices. In the new study, the researchers set out to test the hypothesis. If it turned out to be true, it could have implications for treating certain health conditions, such as obesity and addiction, which are related to people's decision- making behavior, the researchers said.
In the study, participants answered questions, both before and after the 1. For example, participants were asked to choose between receiving $2. They answered these questions while they were in a brain scanner to monitor their brain activity.
The participants also completed a battery of standard cognitive tests assessing memory, attention and other brain functions. Contrary to the hypothesis, the participants who played Lumosity games didn't show a shift in their tendencies to choose (or not choose) immediate rewards, and didn't show changes in brain activity, compared to the group that played video games. The groups had similar scores on their cognitive tests too. Tips for Healthy Aging]. What's more, when the researchers had a third group of participants perform the same cognitive tests several different times, without any brain- training or video games in between the tests, this group had similar scores to both the Lumosity and video game groups.
In a statement provided to Live Science, Lumos Labs said that the new study looked at a novel idea — whether cognitive training was associated with decision making or risk sensitivity. The company encourages novel research, and this is why Lumos Labs provided the researchers with free access to the Lumosity training program for the study, the statement said. But "it's a giant leap to suggest this study proves cognitive training is 'no better than video games at improving brain function,'" as the researchers who conducted the study suggested, the statement said.
Lumos Labs noted that the study had a narrow focus and that many questions remain, including "how, why and in what circumstances cognitive training is efficacious.". The researchers noted that their study involved only young, healthy adults ages 1. Original article on Live Science.