Sorry Dr Kawashima, seems you weren’t helping our brains

kawa-lies

Who here has played a brain training game? There was a time when they were quite the thing: games marketed to offset the aging process or slow down or reverse age-related cognitive decline. In 2014 two teams reached conflicting conclusions. One said the games don’t do anything, while the other said there might just be something to it.

Then a study was performed to see which group was right and it seems that the brain training games don’t do anything for brain health. What really happens, it seems, is that playing the game a lot makes you better at the game, just like how playing Halo a lot will improve your Halo skills. The marketing blurb was that these skills would be transferred to other parts of your life and general skills, but it doesn’t really work like that. Learning how to memorise a long string of numbers doesn’t make your memory as a whole better, it just makes you better at memorising long strings of numbers.

So if a brain training game has a skill that you use every day, sure it will help you, but no research points to it doing anything to delay the onset of say Alzhiemer’s. The FTC even fined Lumor Labs, behind Luminosity, $2 million of false advertising promising health benefits.

You can see the paper of the study here, but it is a pretty weighty tome.

If it has the letters RPG in it, I am there. Still battling with balancing trying to play every single game that grabs my interest, getting 100% in a JRPG, and devoting time to my second home in Azeroth.

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