Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Scientists Call Foul On Brain Games Pseudo-Science

Forbes - Wanting to be smarter is kind of a no-brainer, as is wanting to slow or stop cognitive decline with age. The thorny issue is how to do it. The $1.3 billion a year Americans spend on “brain training” games suggests lots of people are turning to screens to buy a jolt of what they hope is scientifically-verified cognitive juice. Unfortunately for those paying to play, and for those collecting the fees, these games are not scientifically verified methods for cognitive enhancement. And what makes this truly unfortunate is not the wasted money. Rather, it is the lost time and effort that could have been directed to what cognitive science has shown can actually enhance cognitive performance.

For a voluminous, complex research literature like brains and games it pays to pay attention to the experts. On October 20th a large group of leading cognitive and brain scientists released a statement provocatively titled “A Consensus on the Brain Training Industry from the Scientific Community.” It concluded in part:

“The strong consensus of this group is that the scientific literature does not support claims that the use of software-based “brain games” alters neural functioning in ways that improve general cognitive performance in everyday life, or prevent cognitive slowing and brain disease.”    Read More