How Not to Train the Brain

May 24, 2010

A study called “Brain Test Britain” is receiving a lot of attention because of its findings that discount the effectiveness of cognitive training. Close inspection of this study reveals many gaps in its methodology and what they consider “brain training.”
They had no screening for suitable candidates with a specific problem, no focus on a specific cognitive function, no proven exercises based in neuroscience (only a series of games), and a haphazard, low-effort training protocol. Finally, there was no coaching provided to the users – of course leading to very poor compliance.
If the British study had managed to create any useful improvement in the test subjects with this kind of “fun and games brain training,” it would have been remarkable. This study is actually a good example of how not to train the brain. It takes specific, intensive, and sustained training to change cognitive performance.

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