The journal Nature last week reported a BBC-sponsored study that concluded that playing computer games did not make people smarter. The results were entirely predictable. Here’s why:
- The games were just that – games. They were simple games focused on isolated skills. It is possible to develop cognitive skills in a game format, but the exercises have been designed to do that with the right kind of progressive challenge and in a way that carefully integrates skills.
- The “training” schedule would not be expected to improve cognitive functioning measurably. 10 minutes 3 times a week for 6 weeks is simply not enough time. As it turns out, participants were included in the study and post-tested as long as they had completed just two training sessions. Would we expect physical strength or agility to be measurably better six weeks later after a total of 20 minutes of exercise? Of course not, and building and strengthening neural connections is analogous.
- The “intelligence test” appears to have been a series of activities similar to the games themselves, not an accepted IQ test. It’s not clear what they were measuring.
It is important to remember that just because it looks like a game doesn’t mean it can’t be an effective brain-training program. BrainWare Safari, which plays like a video game, is serious cognitive development – supported by peer-reviewed published research (the BBC study was not peer-reviewed) – has improved cognitive skills by an average of over 4 years in 12 weeks of use.
The BBC study is important because it helps to distinguish between casual game-playing and true brain-training.
Learn more about BrainWare Safari at www.MyBrainWare.com.