I’ve been obsessed with trying to train my brain in one way or another. I’ve done neurofeedback, and tried a few different brain game products. Originally my favorite was brainbuilder, because it used reverse digit span training. I played this game obsessively. An hour or more a day at times. I got my reverse digit span up to about an average of 13 before I stopped.
A lot in my life has changed since then, but what I realized recently when discussing with a friend is that I can literally trace back an enormous amount of personal changes I made to that period of time I was doing brain training. It hadn’t occurred to me at the time that it made that much of a difference, but I think it did. In fact, there’s a study that shows that merely causing people to think quickly makes them feel happier, and more self-assured.
So perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that making an effort to speed up my brain would’ve made me happier and more productive. But nonetheless it has, and it’s made me want to go back to what I was doing. So when I heard of “Lumosity” on developing intelligence’s blog recently, I couldn’t help myself. I had to check this new brain training site out. They had a 14 day free trial, and I figured that’d be enough to get a grasp of just what it has to offer.
Things I Like
They have a free trial.
They seem to have a good staff, they’ve provided a little research (the control group was tiny though — I’d like to see more), and they have some really basic cognitive games — which I like — the stroop test.
I like the BPI or “Brain Performance Index,” which essentially allows you to compare your score to some 50,000 other runs of the same game by other people. This probably sealed the deal on getting me to try the game out — it let’s me see how I compare to other people. I’m a guy — I’ve got to get my kicks by having a cognitive pissing contest.
The games definitely seem to do something. I feel more energetic, and my head feels swollen after a good hour run or two.
Things I’d Like To See Improved
I’d like to see more research. Maybe even research for the individual games. This may be asking a bit much though, so in the absence of that…
I’d like to be able to invite friends and compare scores. I’d like to literally be able to compete. In order for me to get addicted to a game like this I either need to be really, really, really, really convinced it’s going to enhance my life by solid research… or I just need to enjoy one-upping my buddies. The BPI gets me close to that, but not close enough.
I’d like to see a game that’s similar to the brainbuilder’s reverse VERBAL digit span. Which means, in brainbuilder I had to HEAR the digits, and then TYPE them backwards. I really don’t see an equivalent to this game on there. I think it’s important, because it requires me to use my ears. Then again, I’ve not finished all 30 sessions yet so maybe just such a game exists.
Okay, so I’ve gained about 200 of their “lumosity” points, and completed 12 sessions in the last five days. I’ve played it… a lot. Honestly, it’s mostly because I’ve been a little down lately, and wanted to see if it’d get me cranking. I’m in a pretty good mood so I think it’s working!
My scores are pretty awesome… I’ve already got 3 scores that have broke the 1,000 range (the top BPI you can get is 1,250). My best one, interestingly enough, is the stroop test! Sitting at a BPI of 1,180. I want to get at least one score maxed out within the next month. That’s my goal… and yeah, I’m going to go ahead and sign-up for their brain gym.
I’d really like to see some SOLID research on the effects of memory training or any of these other “brain games” on depression, and anxiety. I have a hunch there’d be some awesome results, but I want to see some science.