Lumosity: Training your brain with games

I set up a free account with Lumosity. The areas in which you can choose to train are: speed, memory, attention, flexibility and problem solving. From each of the five areas, I choose two items to focus on so that my training was spread out over all the areas but equally distributed. Each training consists of three games for the free account. Since I choose all five areas, my training focus varied from day-to-day. With the exception of the day I signed up for the account, I kept track of the different types of games I played and the cognitive areas that they focused on.

Day 1:

  • Word Bubbles Rising – verbal fluency
  • Raindrops – problem solving
  • Lost in Migration – selective attention

Day 2:

  • Chalkboard Challenge – arithmetic
  • Brain shift – task switching abilities
  • Memory Matrix – spatial recall

Day 3:

  • Familiar Faces – facial recognition
  • Color Match – flexibility
  • Raindrops – problem solving

Day 4:

  • Lost in Migration – selective attention
  • Pinball Recall – working memory
  • Playing Koi – divided attention

Day 5:

  • By the Rules – logic
  • Spatial Speed Match – information processing
  • Bird Watching – field of view

The games quantify your BPI, or brain performance index, which measures your cognitive performance (Lumosity website). Based upon my BPI scores, perhaps I would have done better to focus only on certain areas, specifically attention and memory, as those two were my lowest. Also, with my BPI, I started out really strong but as the week went on my performance plummeted and slowly started to rise (see picture below).

I think this occurred because of changes in my mood, sleep, and concentration. When I started training I felt good but as the week went on I became more and more tired as I wasn’t sleeping well. My mood as well as my ability to concentrate diminished with my lack of sleep. As the week progressed, I found it harder and harder to concentrate on anything. Also, I didn’t stick to a set schedule to train. I fit it in wherever I could, which may have not been the best method.

A funny thing I noticed while I was training was that when I started to focus on what my hands were doing that my performance faltered. I either made a mistake, my speed slowed, or both. Some of the information processing had become automatic enough that my actively thinking about what I was doing negatively interfered with the process. A classroom connection I made during this assignment is that the Color Match game is based on the Stroop Effect, in which the color of the word interferes with the color name (Goldstein, 2011).

On the positive side, I do think that the games have the potential to increase your cognitive performance. The games are fun, only take a few minutes, and are easy to learn. The more that you train, the better you should become at each game, which in turn increases your BPI. The games translate to everyday life skills, remembering names with faces, solving math problems in your head, paying better attention to your surroundings, spatial awareness, and learning how to effectively divide your attention.

In my case, I think my method of training hurt my overall training experience. I would recommend training at the same time each day and without any distractions as the games do need concentrated focus. I also recommend trying to modulate your mood (fake it till you make it) and be rested when you train.

Image
Source: Lumosity

References

Goldstein, E. B. (2011). Cognitive psychology: Connecting mind, research, and everyday experience (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

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Categories: Cognitive Psychology | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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