Brain training: An attractive idea, but not as easy as it seems

18 August 2020

Brain training. Illustration by kurzgesagt.
A five-minute animated explainer video

Does brain training really work? Research shows that playing brain training games makes you faster and better at performing the tasks you practice. But does this train the brain more broadly? Not necessarily.

What do you think of when you hear “brain training”? Probably one of those apps and games that claim to train your thinking skills. But do these games really work?

When it comes to training your brain, there is some good news:

First: Anyone can become better at solving problems or learning new, complex activities. We are not born intelligent or not intelligent. Intelligence develops as a product of genetic and environmental factors. So yes, in principle, we can train our brain. This is especially true for children, because developing brains are particularly plastic.

Second: By playing well-designed brain training games, we can learn to perform the trained tasks – and sometimes even similar ones – faster and better.

However, brain training is not as simple as it may seem. Brain training games usually train skills that are specific to the game itself, rather than skills that are useful in daily life. If you want to train your brain more broadly, there might be better ways to spend your time.

Curious to learn more about the possibilities and challenges of training your brain? Then watch this video!



Video produced by kurzgesagt for BOLD – Blog on Learning and Development.

Script by Dietsje Jolles, Linda van Leijenhorst, and Pia Viviani/catta gmbh.

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