The brain needs care just like any other part of the body – but when was the last time you set aside some time to flex your frontal lobe? A study funded by National Institute of Health scientists found that memory, reasoning and processing speed can be improved by fairly simple ‘brain training’ in very little time. Moreover, they found that cognitive improvements persisted for at least five years.
After the age of about 30, the brain’s ability to function begins to deteriorate. Just like the rest of us, things move slower and begin to deteriorate. It’s important to keep yourself sharp, and traditional activites aren’t usually enough to do it. Even if you have an intellectually challenging job, are an avid reader, and play chess, you’re still going to be neglecting certain parts of the brain. And most of us do a lot less than that. Enter Lumosity.com.
Lumosity is a scientifically designed ‘brain training program’ based on the concept of neuroplasticity - the brain’s ability to learn and physically adapt given appropriate stimuli. Lumosity’s brain games and exercises are engineered to train and improve your memory, attention, processing speed, and cognitive control. And better yet, they’re fun! Why melt your brain playing crap like Grand Theft Auto, training yourself to think and act like a criminal, when you can have a good time literally boosting your IQ.
The development and testing of the games were guided by some of the leading scientists in neuroscience, cognitive psychology and bioinformatics – and they work. Lumosity’s program has been shown to improve memory and attention in randomized, controlled clinical trials. And the site isn’t just a free for all. They have well crafted progams that guide you through short ten minute ‘workouts’, explain what the games do, and track your progress.
Here are examples of some of the games:
Monster Garden - Area of Cognition: Memory
Monster Garden improves your memory and attention with a spatial memory task. As your spatial and working memory improves, you will be able to navigate through progressively harder levels.
Word-Bubbles- Area of Cognition: Processing Speed
Word Bubbles was designed to train and improve your processing speed and word-finding ability. The brain’s speed of processing is an important factor determining how quickly a person can think, take in sensory information, or conduct other cognitive processes such as remembering or comprehending language.
Birdwatching - Area of Cognition: Attention
Birdwatching improves attention and the ability to process visual information. These abilities are important in many everyday activities including driving and playing sports. The task gets progressively more challenging to accommodate your improvements in visual attention and processing speed.
Lost in Migration - Area of Cognition: Cognitive Control
Lost in Migration is designed to train and improve your cognitive control and reaction time. This task focuses on supressing your automatic - almost reflexive - responses, helping you stay focused on the greater goal.
Mental health is an important as physical health. One is meaningless without the other. What use is a Vitruvian body, without a Vitruvian mind? I recommend giving it a try while the service is still free. As they say… use it or lose it folks.