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New scientific statement questions effectiveness of 'brain training' games

New scientific statement questions effectiveness of 'brain training' games

October 23, 2014 | By Mike Rose

Nearly 70 psychology, neuroscience, and gerontology scholars have co-signed a skeptical statement about "brain training" games, questioning the effectiveness of such games.

There are numerous brain training games out there that will apparently help you to better learn and retain information. Nintendo's Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training is one of the most notable brain training titles of the last decade.

The effectiveness of these sorts of games has been questioned on numerous occasions, but now Stanford Center for Longevity and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development has joined together to state that these games "are unlikely to produce broad improvements in everyday functioning."

"It is customary for advertising to highlight the benefits and overstate potential advantages of their products," Stanford professor Laura Carstensen said. "But in the case of brain games, companies also assert that the products are based on solid scientific evidence developed by cognitive scientists and neuroscientists. So we felt compelled to issue a statement directly to the public."

These games target very specific cognitive abilities, the statement argues, but there is very little evidence that any improvements witnessed actually transfer over to more complex skills that actually matter, like problem solving and planning.

"Often, the cited research is only tangentially related to the scientific claims of the company, and to the games they sell," Carstensen added.

You can find the statement, and a summary of the statement, over on the Stanford website.

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