Brain Teasing Games Don't Boost Your IQ, Study Says

"Brain games" are certainly fun, but contrary to what many players hope, they're not likely to make you any smarter. From a six-week study paid for by the BBC and reported by Discovery News:

Photo by wetwebwork.

More than 8,600 people aged 18 to 60 were asked to play online brain games designed by the researchers to improve their memory, reasoning and other skills for at least 10 minutes a day, three times a week.

They were compared to more than 2,700 people who didn't play any brain games, but spent a similar amount of time surfing the Internet and answering general knowledge questions.

Researchers said the people who did the brain training didn't do any better on the test after six weeks than people who had simply been on the Internet. On some sections of the test, the people who surfed the Net scored higher than those playing the games.

Some brain-game manufacturers argued with the study's results, claiming that the findings didn't apply to their games. Whether or not the results of that study are on the money, professor of psychology from the University of Illinois Art Kramer points out: "There is precious little evidence to suggest the skills used in these games transfer to the real world."

It's not all bad news, though. For starters, regular mental exercise may increase your life expectancy. If you're really looking for some brain-boosting benefits, physical exercise is an extremely effective way to exercise your mind — and you're killing two birds with one stone.

Are you a big believer in the brain games? Share your experience in the comments.

Brain Games Won't Boost I.Q. [Discovery News]


Comments

    Ah, okay, so it's a false correlation. They're not comparing people who played Brain Training for 30 minutes a week to people who didn't, they're comparing them to people who are engaged in a similar knowledge-gaining activity by answering trivia questions for the same period of time.

    This is not what we usually refer to as an unbiased study, there's no control group.

    To Professor Kramer, I would say "There is precious little evidence IQ scores transfer to the real world" either, so he's getting pretty close to committing a non sequitur. High IQ scores do not correlate with real world advantages such as status or income nearly as strongly as education levels.

    I'm fairly sure the right brain game would easily raise IQ scores, since most IQ tests rely on the combinations of the sorts of things which appear in Brain Training games. I'd like to see the study design for this. If the users were allowed to focus on their favourite Brain Training Games, they would not gain the same advantage as if they were made to focus on their weakest ones, possibly until they enjoyed those as much. Pattern recognition, spatial awareness, reading comprehension and speed at these things are some of the key things tested for in IQ tests. These could certainly be included in a Brain Training game.

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