Mind Blown or Time Blown, Do Brain Training Games Work?

Nope, at least if you want to take the word of the Scientific community. In a statement released by Stanford University Center on Longevity and the Berlin Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Dr Killjoy had this to say:

“We object to the claim that brain games offer consumers a scientifically grounded avenue to reduce or reverse cognitive decline when there is no compelling scientific evidence to date that they do. The promise of a magic bullet detracts from the best evidence to date, which is that cognitive health in old age reflects the long-term effects of healthy, engaged lifestyles. In the judgment of the signatories below, exaggerated and misleading claims exploit the anxieties of older adults about impending cognitive decline. We encourage continued careful research and validation in this field.”

Ouch. That has got to hurt the likes of Lumocity or Brain HQ, and you don’t have to be a bonafied Eisenstein-genius to figure out that those companies will respond with testimonials from some of those tens of millions of subscribers they claim. The researches also dismiss the kind of studies these sites reference as “only tangentially related” to products they sell.

In fact, the consensus view is that there is no way to halt cognitive decline with software you get off the internet, which should not be too surprising. What is surprising is that no regimen of medication or training seems to result in long term gains to intelligence in adults. There are some experiments where very young children were given extensive daily training over  a period of five years.

The result? A gain of just over 1 IQ point a year.