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Veteran Member - Level 11
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
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