Patricia Marx on brain training

29 Jul

In the July 29th New Yorker, writer Patricia Marx experiments with several brain training regimes. The piece is written humorously and can not be seen as a rigorous examination of all these programs, but she does exhibit a healthy degree of skepticism both about the claims made by the brain fitness promoters and about the expense of these programs.

Some of the intervention she describes, such as meditation, do find support in the scientific literature. However, many entrepreneurs take intriguing scientific findings and make claims that go beyond the available evidence. This is particularly true in case of brain fitness software.

We do have evidence that cognitive engagement may improve memory and protect against dementia. However, we have very little evidence about the effects of specific brain training software.

My advice is that adults should take up challenging learning projects, such as studying a foreign language or learning to play a musical instrument, as the best form of brain training. Not only is there evidence that these projects may be beneficial, they have the added advantage of enriching our lives.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: