High Scores in Brain Games Don’t Transfer to Improved Brain Function
Bad news for those who play games to increase cognitive function: The games may not be improving working memory. A new study, published in Neuropsychologia, found that performance in one brain training game may not translate to improved performance in a similar game or task.
Participants’ who trained and achieved high scores in the first game did not improve their performance in the second game. In fact, they received similar scores to an “untrained” control group (that never played the first game).
“We hypothesized that if you get really, really good at one test by training for a very long time, maybe then you’ll get improvement on tests that are quite similar. Unfortunately, we found no evidence to support that claim,” explains Bobby Stojanoski, a Western University Brain and Mind Institute research scientist and lead author of the paper. “Despite hours of brain training on that one game, participants were no better at the second game than people who tested on the second game but hadn’t trained on the first one.”
The findings of this study support previous findings from a 2010 study that found getting good at brain games doesn’t improve working memory or enhance IQ.
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“Sleep better, exercise regularly, eat better, education is great—that’s the sort of thing we should be focused on,” Stojanoski says. “If you’re looking to improve your cognitive self, instead of playing a video game or playing a brain training test for an hour, go for a walk, go for a run, socialize with a friend. These are much better things for you.”