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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Want To Give Your Brain A Boost? Lumosity Can Help

In one of my recent blog posts I talked about how brain scientists were using gaming as a way to help farmers in drier parts of the world absorb new information quickly and effectively and thus be better prepared to deal with their region’s dry spells. It got me thinking about what sorts of resources gamers like myself could utilize if we too wanted to improve our brains through gaming but sadly I had no idea where to begin my search. Fortunately, an ad I happened to see on t.v. for a website called “Lumosity” offered the very answer I was looking for.

 Founded by a group of neuroscientists, the goal of Lumosity.com is to help exercise your brain in a way that your brain perceives as fun, a.k.a. playing games. Joining is free (though there is a recurring subscription option for “full access”, more on that later) and when you first make your account you can pick and choose which areas of your brain you want to focus on developing (I’d recommend picking all of them since that gives you access to the most games). All of the games are fun, short little exercises that can help you develop attributes such as attention to detail, memory, spatial awareness, problem solving, and more.

As you play the various games, the site’s built in “Brain Performance Index” (or “BPI”) keeps track of how well you’re doing and displays your progress in a fun interactive chart so you can see first-hand how you’re progressing in different attributes of your brain. Sadly some of the more in-depth features such as your training history and details on how you compare to other users are locked behind the “full access” paid option but even as a free user you can still get a pretty good idea of how well you’re doing and how much you’re progressing.

The site’s built in training program assigns five random games for you to do each day (though you only get access to three of them if you’re a free user) on a rotating schedule of over 30 games in total so you’ll rarely do the same game two days in a row. Completing your training session multiple days in a row will put you on a “hot streak” which doesn’t really have any other benefit other than signifying your dedication (but isn’t that its own reward?).

While Lumosity’s simplified and short games may not seem like they’re doing much for your brain at first, over time they can have a drastic impact on how your brain functions which is amazing when you consider the relatively small time commitment Lumosity requires. I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical at first but after about a week and a half’s worth of training with Lumosity, I’m already starting to see the results as subjects I once dreaded to even go near (such as math) don’t seem quite as intimidating as they once did.

Lumosity may not make you a genius overnight, but if you’re willing to stick with it, you’ll be amazed at all the little ways it can help improve your brain and all the skills associated with it. Memorizing driving directions, remembering people’s names, being more aware and alert of your surroundings, these are just a few of the things that can be enhanced through Lumosity and I encourage anyone who thinks their brain could use a boost to give it a shot, all it will cost you is a little bit of your time.

Check it out for yourself at Lumosity’s official website.

Also, take a look at this video that features cognitive researcher Daphne Bavelier discussing how video games (even FPS games like Call of Duty) can help the brain develop.     

Follow me on Twitter at @NateHohl and check out my other work at vgutopia.com and rantgaming.com


  1. Agreed. Lumosity is fun and healthy brain food. =)

  2. Agreed. Lumosity is fun and healthy brain food. =)