Computer-Aided Cognitive Brain Training: How Well Supported? How Expensive?

Brain Training the Hard Way The Brain from Planet Arous  1957

Brain Training the Hard Way
The Brain from Planet Arous 1957

Western societies are aging rapidly. Because cognitive decline often seems to accompany aging, it is important for susceptible individuals to explore different ways by which he might keep (or reclaim) as much of his mental complement as possible, for as long as possible.

First let’s look at three of the most expensive online cognitive training suites:

  1. Brain HQ $96/year
  2. CogniFit $120/year
  3. Lumosity $80/year

All 3 cognitive training suites claim to be based upon neuroscience research. Brain HQ provides the most support for its claims. CogniFit training also appears to be reasonably backed by research. Lumosity claims to work with 40+ universities, with 50+ research studies underway — but their online documentation for these claims is sparse and generally nonspecific.

More choices for widely available brain training apps can be found here (CNN), and here (Alzheimers.net). These lists include more expensive online subscription training suites, such as the 3 above, as well as inexpensive and free apps for training on mobile devices.

If you are going to commit yourself to a regimen of cognitive training, you will want to do “before” and “after” cognitive testing, in order to detect any objective gains.

Cambridge Brain Sciences provides free online cognitive function tests, which can be used to monitor progress while undergoing cognitive training of all sorts.

Free Online and Downloadable Brain Games and Suites

18 different free brainware game and suite downloads (compare user ratings) can be obtained here. Includes a clone of the popular braingame “Dual N-Back.”

A large and interesting assortment of mind games — including brain games, math games, puzzle games, word games, sudoku puzzles, and memory games can be played here. Some mindgames can be downloaded from the site.

11 more free braingame downloads can be found here (some overlap with above downloads and listings).

At the cognitive fun website, you can plan onsite games to train attention, perception, executive function, item span, memory, and “IQ.”

Yet another free online braingames website

Check out some of the free games available at any of the sites mentioned above, to discover your level of affinity to them. If you are thinking about some of the subscription-based cognitive trainings, be sure to explore the scientific support and best application for each type of training, eg Brainhq, CogniFit, or Lumosity — and play the free sample games that are made available from each fee-based website.

Brain games have been demonstrated to be useful largely for medical and brain rehabilitation and anti-senility purposes. Whether they are useful for normally functioning brains is still an active question.

Beyond “Brain Games”

Diet, exercise, nutrition, an active and productive lifestyle, a sense of purpose, and a healthy social circle are all important to optimal cognitive functioning.

Research in human dementias such as Alzheimer’s Disease is beginning to uncover the secrets of the disease, and various approaches to treatment are being discovered that may change long-term prospects of ageing societies.

Targeted use of brain stimulation using electrical, magnetic, light, sound, and other stimuli also hold out prospects for reversing or delaying symptoms of dementia or normal cognitive decline.

Neurofeedback training is still in its infancy, but is likely to become much more widely applicable for a wide range of cognitive and behavioural training. Massage, meditation, bodywork, martial arts, and focused visualisation can all be beneficial for the mental functioning of different people. Playful, creative sexuality is likewise beneficial to both brain and body.

More

Eventually — if humans can transition through the coming dysgenic idiocracy — human lifespans into the multiple hundreds of years range will not be unusual. Imagine the things that bright, creative, energetic, healthy humans could accomplish over such timespans.

We need to focus on the things now that will help create such an expansive and abundant human future. First, we must make sure that optimistic, intelligent, creative, and competent human populations survive the coming anarchy, brought about largely by the dysgenic idiocracy — as well as the ideological idiocracy currently in control of most governments, media, academia, and other large cultural institutions.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood.

More: Cognitive Enhancement in Wikipedia

Earlier Al Fin article on Cognitive Enhancers

COGNITIVE ABILITIES ARE BRAINS FUNCTIONS

Cognitive Ability/Brain Function
Skills involved
Perception Recognition and interpretation of sensory stimuli (smell, touch, hearing, etc.)

Brain teasers:

Attention Ability to sustain concentration on a particular object, action, or thought, and ability to manage competing demands in our environment.
Brain challenges:

Memory Short-term/ working memory (limited storage), and Long-term memory (unlimited storage).
Brain teaser:

Motor skills Ability to mobilize our muscles and bodies, and ability to manipulate objects.

Brain challenges:

  • Tap your right hand on the table. At the same time, make a circular movement with  your left hand (as if you were cleaning the table)
  • Do the same, switching hands
Language Skills allowing us to translate sounds into words and generate verbal output.

Brain teaser:

Visual and Spatial Processing Ability to process incoming visual stimuli, to understand spatial relationship between objects, and to visualize images and scenarios.

Brain teaser:

Executive Functions Abilities that enable goal-oriented behavior, such as the ability to plan, and execute a goal. These include:
Flexibility: the capacity for quickly switching to the appropriate mental mode.
Theory of mind: insight into other people’s inner world, their plans, their likes and dislikes.
Anticipation: prediction based on pattern recognition.
Problem-solving: defining the problem in the right way to then generate solutions and pick the right one.
Decision making: the ability to make decisions based on problem-solving, on incomplete information and on emotions (ours and others’).
Working Memory: the capacity to hold and manipulate information “on-line” in real time.
Emotional self-regulation: the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions for good performance.
Sequencing: the ability to break down complex actions into manageable units and prioritize them in the right order.
Inhibition: the ability to withstand distraction, and internal urges.Brain teasers:

__ Sharp Brains

Games for the Brain

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2 Responses to Computer-Aided Cognitive Brain Training: How Well Supported? How Expensive?

  1. Bob Wallace says:

    I used the free Luminosity and noticed no change at all.

    • alfin2101 says:

      It may take from 6 to 8 weeks of regular training for persons with cognitive problems to notice improvements. Persons without cognitive problems may never notice any significant change, subjectively.

      In the future, a typical brain tuneup / workout will probably combine various routines, including brain games, brain stimulation, neurofeedback, mind-body training, and some form of meditation / visualisation.

      As mentioned in the article, the best of these trainings were designed for rehab and anti-senility purposes.

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