Brain Games Basically BS?

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Perhaps, the advertisements that promises to be a few minutes a day. Hundreds of so called "Brain training" programs can be purchased. These simple games are designed to overcome mental abilities that are aimed at improving the performance of everyday tasks.

But can you just by clicking away animated skinny fish or flashed the streets of the signs of your phone can really help you improve your brain functions?

Two large group of scientists and mental health practices have published consensus, except months, in 2014, the effectiveness of these brain games. Both included people in the experiences and experiences of research, learning, skills, neurology, and dementia. Both groups carefully considered one part of the evidence at that time.

However, they tested exactly the opposite statements.

One conclusion states that "there is little evidence that the game of brain games improves a wide range of cognitive skills, or it enables them to move better in everyday life."

The second argued that "the growing and growing body of proof shows that some cognitive curriculum will significantly improve the cognitive function, including the ways in which they are diluted in everyday life."

These two competitive mutually exclusive statements underscore the deep disagreement between experts and fundamental disputes that provide evidence of evidence.

In 2016, the Federal Trade Commission of the USA entered into judicial decisions, including a $ 50 million decision (later reduced to 2 million) against one of the most heavily advertised trends in the market. The FTC concluded that Lumos Labs's advertisements – Lumos Labs training program, improved schools and work, protection against Alzheimer's disease and treatment of ADHD symptoms – did not prove substantiated.

Against the backdrop of conflict claims and scientific statements, advertisements and government solutions, what are consumers' assumptions? Is it worth your time and money in the brain training? What kind of benefits can you expect? Or maybe your time would be better to do something

I am a cognitive scientist and a member of the successful long-term institute of the Florida State University Institute. I studied cognition, human performance and the results of various studies in almost two decades. I conducted laboratory studies that directly agree with the ideas that are the basis for complaints of brain training companies.

Considering this experience, my optimistic response to the question of brain training would be "we just do not know". But the answer may well be "no".

How well does the research improve?

My colleagues and I have argued that most of the relevant studies will not be able to determine the final evidence.

Some of the problems are statistical.

Brain therapy studies often affect many cognitive tests – attention, memory, thinking skills, and so on. This strategy expresses the idea of ​​eradicating the potential achievements.

However, for every test administration, there is a chance that the score will only be possible only to increase. The more tests are administered, the greater the chance that the researchers have seen at least one fake alarm.

Brain therapy studies involving many tests and then only one or two important results can not be trusted if they do not control the number of tests. Unfortunately, many studies do not read their conclusions.

Other design problems should be done with inadequate control groups. That treatment has been effective, the group needs to be in need of a group that does not. For example, it is possible that people get brain training to assess the improvement just because they have already been shot – before and after the training. Since the control group also doubles the test twice, cognitive improvement can be based on the effect on the practice.

Many studies have been used to support the brain training effectiveness for brain training efficiency control group that does nothing. The problem is that the difference between the training group and the control group in this group is easily explained by the placebo effect.

The placebo effect is improved, which is not a direct result of treatment but waiting for participants to achieve results or better performance. This is an important concern in the study of any intervention aimed at understanding the effects of a new drug or new brain study product.

Researchers now realize that doing something more than expecting nothing. Recognizing the probability of placebo effect is to overcome the standards to test the efficiency of brain games. Now studies are more likely to use an active control group consisting of participants who perform alternative brain training activities than they do.

Nevertheless, these active controls are not enough to control expectations. For example, it is unlikely that a participant in the controlling conditions that is equipped with computerized crossword tests or educational videos waiting for expectations as the participant to give a quick and adaptable commercial brain training product – the product is specially advertised. However, these insufficient design surveys have continued to prove that commercial brain training works. It remains to be done to perform rare researches in order to help identify and resist potential placebo effects.

Participants in the learning process develop their expectations based on their learning conditions and are particularly optimistic about the results of brain training. The inappropriate expectations between the groups are serious concerns because there are evidence that cognitive tests take placebo effect, including memory, intelligence and attention tests.

Is there an expected mechanism for improvement?

There is one more important question that needs to be addressed: Should brain training work? This is what the scientists know how to learn and learn new skills, should we expect a single task to improve the performance of another, undocumented task? This is a fundamental claim by brain training companies that play computer or mobile device games, improve your activities to all kinds of tasks that are not playing in the game.

Brain Training Programs & # 39; Gamify & # 39; The process is to keep people practicing. Gustavo da Cunha Pimenta / Flickr, CC BY-SA

As an example, the "speed of processing speed" is involved in commercial brain training. The goal here is to improve the findings of the periphery that can be helpful in avoiding a motor accident. The brain game can get the shape of the nature of the scenes on the periphery of birds; Players must have specific birds, although the picture is only brief. But searching for birds of the screen can help you identify and avoid, for example, pedestrians walking when you are driving?

This is a very important issue. Some people care about improving their scores in abstract computerized brain training. What is important is to improve their ability to carry out daily tasks related to their safety, well-being, independence and success in life. But more than a century research suggests that the tendency of training and learning achievements is very specific. From one task to another can be a challenge.

Consider the individual known as SF, which has managed to continue the practice, to improve its memory numbers from seven to 79 numbers. After the training he could have listened to 79 randomly generated numbers and immediately repeat the list of these numbers perfectly, immediately. But he still remembers and repeats only 6 letters of the script.

This is just one example through which you can improve your own activity, but does not show the training when you have a slightly different challenge. If the benefits of preparation of decisive figures do not remember how to remember letters, why do you practice on virtual bird watching, in academic performance, or everyday memory?

Married mind

Brain Training Programs are an attractive combination, "Get Smart Quick" Scheme. But the improvement or maintenance of cognition will not be expected quickly and easily. Instead, you may be asking for a life-long period or a cognitive period – learning and learning.

If you are concerned about your knowledge, what should you do?

First, if you are in the brain games, and enjoy them, please continue the game. But your expectations are realistic. If you play only cognitive benefit, instead of reviewing other activities that may be cognitive stimulation or less likely to perform – like studying a new language, for example, or playing an instrument for learning.

Some evidence suggests that physical exercise can potentially help keep cognition. Even if the exercise does not affect the cognition, it has a clear benefit for physical health – why do not you change your body a bit?

The most important lesson of literature teaching is: If you want to improve your work, what's important for you is practice in practice. Playing brain games can only make you better playing brain games.

Walter Boot, professor of cognitive psychology, Florida State University

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