Everyday Wellness

Your Favorite Brain Games Might Just Be Cranial Crud, According to Science

Get smart and avoid wasted brain space.

By Sam Benson Smith

ESB-Professional/ShutterstockCognitive improvement is always something to strive for, but a recent study reveals that maybe the route to mental muscularity isn’t lined with brain games.

According to a University of Pennsylvania study, 192 research participants were assigned into three different groups. Over 10 weeks, one-third of the participants would play brain games from Lumosity for 30 minutes per day, while another third would play regular video games, and the remaining third would serve as the control group, refraining from both.

By the end of the study, all three groups showed some improvement in cognitive performance However, according to the study’s lead author, Dr. Caryn Lerman, “no evidence that personal brain training benefited the participants in terms of improving cognitive performance, working memory, on attention, cognitive flexibility, or inhibitory control.”

This update follows a trend; in 2014, a Florida State University study revealed that students that played the popular game Portal 2 saw greater improvement in cognitive performance than students given Lumosity’s brain training software.

Lumosity is one of the biggest names in brain games, but the company has been trending downward over the past few years. In 2016, Lumosity settled to pay a charge of $2 million for deceptive advertising. The company was founded as Lumos Labs in 2005, Lumosity.com was launched in 2007. As of 2015, Lumosity had over 70 million members.

Consumers will continue to seek out paths to greater intellectual ability, whether through brain games (like these free games you can find online) or brain pills. Looking for other ways to improve cognitive function that aren’t brain games? Try one of these 14 brain exercises, like brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand or showering with your eyes closed. 

More: Everyday Wellness Health Care Aging Well Living Well The Human Brain

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