Shining the Light of Research on Lumosity
- 1.9k Downloads
Lumosity is a subscription-based suite of online brain-training games, intended to improve cognitive skills. Due to an influx of products designed to train cognition through games such as Lumosity, it is important to determine their effectiveness for the sake of consumers and for the potential implications of any training effects for theories of transfer of cognitive skills. Two training experiments were conducted using the Lumosity platform. Participants were divided into three groups: those who trained with five attention games in Lumosity (attention group), those who trained with five flexibility games in Lumosity (flexibility group), and an inactive control group. Participants were assessed on accuracy and response time for two cognitive tests of attention (useful field of view and change detection) and two cognitive tests of flexibility (Wisconsin card sort and Stroop) both before and after a training period. In experiment 1, the training period was 3 h spread over four sessions. In experiment 2, the training period was 15 to 20 h spread over an average of 73 sessions. The trained groups did not show significantly greater pretest-to-posttest gains than the control group on any measures in either experiment, except in experiment 2 where the flexibility group significantly outperformed the other two groups on Stroop response time and UFOV reaction time. A practical implication concerns the lack of strong evidence for the effectiveness of brain-training games to improve cognitive skills. A theoretical implication concerns the domain specificity of cognitive skill learning from brain training games.
KeywordsCognitive training Brain-training games Lumosity Computer game training Transfer effects
This project was supported by grant N000141612046 from the Office of Naval Research.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
We adhered to guidelines for ethical treatment of human subjects and obtained IRB approval.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Edwards, J. D., Vance, D. E., Wadley, V. G., Cissell, G. M., Roenker, D. L., & Ball, K. K. (2005). Reliability and validity of useful field of view test scores as administered by personal computer. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 27, 529–543. https://doi.org/10.1080/13803390490515432.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Gee, J. P. (2007). Good video games+ good learning pp. 1-82. New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
- Hardy, J. L., Nelson, R. A., Thomason, M. E., Sternberg, D. A., Katovich, K., Farzin, F., & Scanlon, M. (2015). Enhancing cognitive abilities with comprehensivetraining: a large, online, randomized, active-controlled trial. PLoS One, 10(9).Google Scholar
- Honey, M. A., Hilton, M. L. (Eds.). (2011). Learning science through computer games and simulations. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- Kane, M. J., Poole, B. J., Tuholski, S. W., & Engle, R. W. (2006). Working memory capacity and the top-down control of visual search: Exploring the boundaries of “executive attention”. Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 32(4), 749–777. https://doi.org/10.1037/0278-7322.214.171.1249.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Kesler, S., Hadi Hosseini, S. M., Heckler, C., Janelsins, M., Palesh, O., Mustian, K., & Morrow, G. (2013). Cognitive training for improving executive function in chemotherapy-treated breast cancer survivors. Clinical Breast Cancer, 13(4), 299–306. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clbc.2013.02.004.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Klingberg, T., Fernell, E., Olesen, P. J., Johnson, M., Gustafsson, P., Dahlström, K., et al. (2005). Computerized training of working memory in children with ADHD—a randomized, controlled trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 44(2), 177–186. https://doi.org/10.1097/00004583-200502000-00010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Mayer, R. E. (2014). Computer games for learning: an evidence-based approach. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is broken: Why games make us better and how they can change the world. Penguin.Google Scholar
- O'Neil, H. F., & Perez, R. S. (2008). Computer games and team and individual learning. Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
- Parong, J., Mayer, R. E., Fiorella, L., MacNamara, A., Plass, J., & Homer, B. (2017). Learning executive function skills by playing focused video games. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 45, 000–000.Google Scholar
- Prensky, M. (2006). Don't bother me, Mom, I'm learning!: How computer and video games are preparing your kids for 21st century success and how you can help!. St. Paul, MN: Paragon house.Google Scholar
- Redick, T. S., Shipstead, Z., Harrison, T. L., Hicks, K. L., Fried, D. E., Hambrick, D. Z., & Engle, R. W. (2013). No evidence of intelligence improvement after working memory training: a randomized, placebo-controlled study. Journal of Experimental Psychology General, 142(2), 359–379. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0029082.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Robbennolt, J. K. (2016). Brain games: helpful tool or false promise? Monitor on Psychology, 47(8), 18.Google Scholar
- Shaffer, D. W. (2006). How computer games help children learn. Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Singley, M. K., & Anderson, M. K. (1989). The transfer of cognitive skill. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Squire, K. (2011). Video games and learning. Teaching and participatory culture in the digital age. New York, NY: Teachers College Print.Google Scholar
- Tobias, S., & Fletcher, J. D. (Eds.). (2011). Computer games and instruction. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
- Wouters, P., & van Oostendorp, H. (Eds.). (2017). Instructional techniques to facilitate learning and motivation of serious games. New York: Springer.Google Scholar