Many of the scientific studies involved in backing up brain-training company claims are not up to standard.
We all want to improve ourselves and no more than our brain capacity. That’s why hundreds of thousands of us turn to brain-training games in the hope to improve memory and focus.
However, a new study has found that, although playing brain-training games will improve your ability and performance in the particular game you’re playing, there is no evidence that it will help with overall cognitive performance even with related tasks that you’ve trained in.
Brain-training games and apps are now big business claiming that using them can significantly improve your mental agility but the new study says this is misleading to consumers.
The study led by Daniel Simons at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, investigated 374 scientific studies – some of which many brain-training companies were quoting in association with their apps and games – however, not one study showed clear conclusions needed to justify a good scientific back-up to cognitive improvement. Some of the studies were too small or didn’t have suitable control groups as well as not taking in the placebo effect that many people may have improved merely because they expected to.
“It would be really nice if you could play some games and have it radically change your cognitive abilities,” Simons says. “But the studies don’t show that on objectively measured real-world outcomes.”
That isn’t to say you should give up on using brain-training games. Although the scientific evidence doesn’t back up claims of improvement, it could still be proved to be the case if proper studies were carried out. Many experts believe regular, consistent and long-term practice in self-cognitive/brain assessment could be beneficial for many.
In 2013, the brain-training industry was worth nearly $1.3 billion and is thought to rise to $3.4 billion in the next few years due to its popularity.
The study was published in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest.