The bad science behind brain training


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I get my brain training tips from a certain Homer J.:

“Alright Brain, you don't like me, and I don't like you. But lets just do this, and I can get back to killing you with beer.”

So that means my obsessive use of Lumosity isn’t acting as a barrier to the onset of Alzheimer’s? Phew!

I’m pretty sure I’m getting dumber. It’s actually a bit worrying, but I just figure… maybe I’ll die of something before it matters!

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The article doesn’t support the conclusion “[brain workouts] are unlikely to actually make you smarter”. The article says “science is hard”, not “brain training doesn’t work”.

Anecdotally, I’ve found brain training to improve my face/name recall, which is real-world useful, and it has highlighted for me the link between sleep, stress, and even time of day, in the sharpness of mental faculties.

that was in my opinion a horribly written article that was linked to. it starts off talking about brain training, but simply posits that the research behind claims of brain training from the likes of lumosity is insufficient or poorly carried out; this falls short of “unlikely to make you smarter”. then, without warning and for no clear reason, the article steers hard into transcendental meditation. here some evidence is presented that little benefit is to be had from transcendental mediation.

however, within this thrashing of transcendental meditation it is mentioned that there in fact is evidence mounting that there are concrete benefits (e.g. decreasing anxiety and depression, boosting working memory) to be had from mindfulness meditation. talk about burying the lead. sounds like science backs up at least this one method of brain training! boing boing… in my opinion that article was not worth linking to.


I smertar. Used brain to train brain to brain train elenty years now - jeanius tomorrow fore shure! Sending mony to you now.



I think it’s pretty odd to suggest that brain training games don’t make you smarter for some idea of smarter. The question is whether they are better at that then reading fiction, or watching interesting TV shows, or walking down the street and paying attention to things.

In my estimation, if you want to get smarter, skip the faux-smart games on Lumosity (which are fun for a little while, no harm in playing a few for free) and play real video games. Go play through Braid and tell me it didn’t change the way you think.

Well, shit.

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What about Spaced Repetition? My understanding is that the research was pretty clear about that as a tool. Even Single/Dual N-Back excercises have shown modest short-term results.

I hate to say it, but I was already smart enough to be extremely skeptical of Lumosity. Hell, they can’t even spell “luminosity,” and they’re going to make me smart? Hey Lumosity, I got an idea that will make you smarter - it’s called education. Thousands of years of brain science, right there.

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