Digitalized Brain Training Programs

Synthesis of the Evaluation of Most Popular Brain Training Programs

Posted by on Dec 7, 2013 in Blog, Digitalized Brain Training Programs

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Digitalized Brain Training Programs

As more and more brain training programs become available, it is also becoming increasingly difficult for the user to make informed choices in selecting a particular program over the other options, because the field of technology-mediated cognitive training is so new, there are no standards available to provide quality indicators for the training programs. Some brain training providers are taking the initiative to evaluate their training programs. Although critics have argued that most of these evaluation have credibility problems and lack rigor, yet they still establish some helpful preliminary baseline information. Summary of the key elements included in these evaluations are shown below.                       

Table 2. Evaluation of Most Popular Brain Training Programs                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Study research references Interventions Duration Findings
(Shatil, 2013) Cognifit – brain training program Training scheduled 3 times weekly for 16 weeks; total training time 32 hours arranged in 48 minutes sessions Cognitive training is effective in improving cognitive performance.
(Tarpin-Bernard, Croisile, n.d.) HAPPYneuron -Training cognitive functions: memory, attention, language, executive function and visual-spatial skills. Each of the 37 games was played 15 times over 90 days Gender and education level were not predictors of achievement.People with higher cognitive skills deficit train more regularly, and benefit more from training.

There is a positive relationship between training intensity and cognitive skills improvements.

There was no observable skills regression.

Training effectiveness can be maximized by playing 30-40 minute sessions, 3 to 5 days a week over a 90 day period.

(Croisile, B.; Reilhac, G.; Bélier, Sandrine.; Tarpin-Bernard; Noir, 2008) HAPPYneuron -Brain training to improve memory, reactivity, decision-making, shared attention, and concentration skills required for safe driving. One month – time spent not specified Brain training improves the efficiency of all the cognitive mechanisms required when driving, except decision-making and shared attention.
(Godde, Noack; Windisch; Voelcker-Jacobs, n.d.) HAPPYneuron -Brain training to promote employability through skills transfer 16 training session of 45 minutes duration over 31 days 



Cognitive training can facilitate the transfer of skills needed to regain employability.
(PositScience, 2013) Drive Sharp brain training exercises and test 3 times a week for 20 minutes at a time Cognitive training can expand useful field of vision, reduce crash risk by 50% and reduce the time needed to mobilize a car in motion.
(Lumosity, 2013) Lumosity – Brain training to enhance memory, speed, attention, flexibility and problem solving. More training is better as benefits accumulate with practice Training results in long-lasting improvements.Training can improve academic performance.

Training transfers to multiple measures of cognitive performance.

(LearningRx, 2011) The training program includes cognitive skills training exercises to improve processing speed, visual processing, logic and reasoning, working memory, long-term memory, attention, and basic auditory processing skills. 6 months one-to-one training 

Online training being tested

Training improves cognitive skills.Training results in average 15% augmentation in IQ.

Training improves reading up to 2.9 years.

In 2012, SharpBrains conducted a market survey to assess users’ satisfaction of the most popular brain-training programs. The survey was focused on six specific elements: (1) popularity; (2) ease of use; (3) engaging; (4) desired results; (5) appropriateness of pricing; (6) value for money. The results are displayed below. The five most popular brain-training programs as perceived by the survey respondents were Brain Games, BrainHQ, Cogmed, emWave, and Lumosity.

Table 3. User Satisfaction of Popular Brain Training Programs

Most popular (%) Ease of useAgree + Strongly agree Engaging over timeAgree + Strongly agree Desired resultsAgree + Strongly agree Correctly pricedAgree + Strongly agree Value for moneyAgree + Strongly agree
Brain Games




































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Effectiveness of Computerized Cognitive Training for Older Adults

Posted by on Dec 7, 2013 in Blog, Digitalized Brain Training Programs

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Digitalized Brain Training Programs

Cognitive impairment among the healthy aging population is another major barrier to the labour extension of older adults (Kueider, Parisi, Gross, & Rebok, 2012). This decline, which begins in early adulthood, affects processing speed, reasoning, memory and executive control. Decline in information processing speed can become noticeable in the 30s (Deary et al., 2009). Today cognitive decline is: “the most feared aspects of growing old. It is also the most costly, in terms of the financial, personal and societal burdens” (Deary et al., 2009, p. 136).

The growing concern about cognitive decline of older adults has sparked interest in cognitive training.  Given the high cost of face-to-face cognitive training, there has been a move to use technology-mediated instruction to provide individualized, flexible, quick, effective and easily accessible low-cost training to older adults. Technology-mediated training can also be designed to be engaging and fun and to provide real-time performance feedback to maintain users’ interest (Kueider et al., 2012).

It appears that although: “the market is currently inundated with commercial brain exercise programs that claim to improve memory, attention, creativity…and cognitive decline…few of these programs have been rigorously tested in empirical scientific studies with older adults” (Kueider et al., 2012, p. 2). In an attempt to fill this information gap the authors systematically reviewed 38 computerized training studies published between 1984 and 2011. The great majority of these studies used classical cognitive training tasks; 9 of them used neuropsychological software, and 10 delivered the training through video games. The training duration varied between 2 weeks to 24 weeks. Results of this systematic review indicated that besides being less labour intensive, all three computerized approaches were either as effective as or better than traditional print-based cognitive training interventions. It was also concluded that adults could benefit from computerized cognitive training without being technologically savvy.

Table 1. Popular Computerized Commercial Brain Training Programs

Company Training emphasis Target population Website
Brain Train Cognitive training All ages
Cogmed Cognitive training All Ages
Cognifit Adults experiencing information overload Adults
HAPPYneuron Training to improve cognitive skills: memory, attention, language, visual-spatial and executive function skills All ages
Lumosity Training memory, attention, processing speed, and problem-solving skills All ages
Posit Science Training memory, attention, processing speed, and intelligence Older adults


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