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Lumosity is one of the most popular online platforms for “mental fitness and brain training.” Launched in 2005 by Lumos Labs (a cognitive neuroscience research and development company founded by Michael Scanlon, Kunal Sarkar, and David Dresher), Lumosity has grown by 150% year-after-year and according to their own reports, it now reaches around 40 million people worldwide.
Lumos Labs claim that their software was developed upon consulting with top scientists from various fields of science, including bioinformatics, cognitive psychology, and neuroscience. The latest cognitive research has proven that the brain is “malleable” and it can be “trained” – to certain extent – using the so-called “brain training games” or “brain training programs.” According to these studies, new neurons can be created (even late in life), the final result being the improvement of the overall cognitive abilities in patients.
Following the very same concept, the Lumosity Brain Fitness Program is designed to target and improve visual memory, attention span, problem solving ability, cognitive flexibility, verbal fluency, and spatial working memory.
The emerging science has dramatically changed the way we understand the brain. Scientists now comprehend that, with the right kind of stimulation and activity, the human brain can significantly change and remodel itself to become more efficient and effective in remembering, processing information, thinking creatively, paying attention, and solving math problems. This is the science Lumosity Brain Training Program is based on.
To simplify things: Lumosity consists in a number of “online mini-games,” each designed to “work” the brain in a certain way. While the overall design seems quite simplistic, results appear to indicate that after playing these games, on daily basis, people can improve a wide variety of core cognitive skills – from attention and memory to fluid intelligence and math skills.
For the past month our team from BrainReference has signed up and played through a number of different online mini-games, part of Lumosity Brain Fitness Program. Each mini game is different and it is accompanied by series of different tasks that the player has to complete. From shutting down birds, to matching geometrical figures, Lumosity seems to be a very complex system that requires your daily attention.
To start with, all mini-games are simple enough and do not pose any real challenge for an adult user. However, as your skills are improving, the difficulty level is exponentially increased and games like Birdwatching or Monster Memory can pose a real challenge even to the most experienced player.
However, while it is very easy to see your progress and improvements in these memory games, after you get familiarized with these challenges, your scores should improve as you can easily take advantages of quirks of the game such as the same shape or pattern showing up 3 or 4 times in a row in some of the speed games.
- Intuitive interface – it is easy to navigate through their system;
- Instructions, graphics, and buttons are setup in larger font making them easy noticeable;
- A short free trial period is available;
- Leaderboards which allows you to compare your scores with other registered users scores;
- All games are constantly updated. New games are added from time to time.
- The free trial period is extremely short – our team finished the trial in less than 10 minutes;
- Registered users have to pay a monthly fee;
- Lumosity requires internet connection as it cannot be played offline;
- Needless to say, this type of brain enhancement approach only favors the tech-savvy generation;
- It is hard to say if training with Lumosity will result in real meaningful improvements in cognitive functioning.
It is important to note that Lumosity is not the only program of this type. In fact, there are quite a few other similar online brain games available, many of which are free to play.
Lumosity could be a good option for those who seek to improve their memory and ability to focus. But the whole program seems to be targeted toward people under 35, a group that is least affected by memory problems. It is quite possible that their target audience consider Lumosity as a “good for you” way to play video games, rather than a way for serious cognitive improvements.
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