You probably already schedule physical activity into your kids’ schedules and your own. You might even make a conscious effort to work out specific parts of your body: cardio to strengthen your heart, weights to tone your muscles. If you play a sport, you have to run drills to sharpen specific skills. It’s generally accepted knowledge that regular exercise makes for a healthy body. So what about your brain?
Think of Lumosity as a personal trainer for your mind, guiding you through a variety of tasks designed to target, practice, and improve specific cognitive skills and functions like memory, problem solving, speed, attention, flexibility, etc. But unlike lunges and crunches, Lumosity’s mental exercises come in the form of fun games that you actually look forward to playing. And best of all, it only takes around 10 minutes a day to really make a difference.
Just like a real trainer, Lumosity encourages you to “work out” 3-5 times per week. Each time you log in to the game, you are presented with 5 games that work on different neurological skill sets. The games very in length but each one runs no longer than a couple minutes. Lumosity tracks your progress in the different games so you can see how you are improving over time and compare your stats against the average from your age group.
The 40+ games are all based on neuroscientific research and commonly used cognitive assessment tests that are modified by Lumosity’s R&D team. Take for example the game, Lost in Migration, which is a modified “flanker test,” originally developed in 1974 by Dr. Charles Eriksen and regularly by psychologists to evaluate different aspects of attention.
Your task is to swipe your finger in the direction that the middle bird is flying. Sounds easy, right? Not so fast. The other birds in the flock may or may not be pointed in the same direction, and you’d be surprised how easily you can be distracted by those other birds. This is a fantastic game that challenges you to focus on a specific task in the midst of a lot distractions, particularly relevant in today’s information-rich world.
Another example is Color Match, which is based on the Stroop test, originally developed in 1935. You are presented with a pair of cards showing the names of colors written in different colors, and your task is to quickly determine whether or not the meaning of one card actually matches the displayed color on the other card. Sound confusing? It is! This game tests your skills at selective attention and response inhibition. Not surprisingly, my kids find the response inhibition factor pretty challenging.
Platform: Desktop, iOS, Android.
Note: all their games are Flash-based and available to full subscription members, but only a subset of the games have been adapted for their mobile apps.
- A free version grants limited access to the games on the website and via their mobile app.
- Lumosity offers a subscription-based service where the monthly prices varies depending on the selected plan.
- The family plan allows up to 5 members to access the games with their own individual profiles.