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Another victim of the BBC/Nature “brain training” experiment

Have you read the cover story of the New Sci­en­tist this week: Men­tal mus­cle: six ways to boost your brain?

The arti­cle, which includes good infor­ma­tion on brain food, the value of med­i­ta­tion, etc., starts by say­ing that: “Brain train­ing doesn’t work, but there are lots of other ways to give your grey mat­ter a quick boost.” Fur­ther in the arti­cle you can read “… brain train­ing soft­ware has now been con­signed to the shelf of tech­nolo­gies that failed to live up to expectations.”

Such claims are based on the one study widely pub­li­cized ear­lier this year: the BBC “brain train­ing” exper­i­ment, pub­lished by Owen et al. (2010) in Nature.

What hap­pened to the sci­en­tific rigor asso­ci­ated with the New Scientist?

As expressed in one of our pre­vi­ous posts: “Once more, claims seem to go beyond the sci­ence back­ing them up … except that in this case it is the researchers, not the devel­op­ers, who are respon­si­ble.” (See BBC “Brain Train­ing” Exper­i­ment: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly).

Read our two pre­vi­ous posts to get to the heart of the BBC study and what it really means. As Alvaro Fer­nan­dez and Dr. Zelin­ski explore the poten­tial sci­en­tific flaws of the study, they both point out that there are very promis­ing pub­lished exam­ples of brain train­ing method­olo­gies that seem to work.

BBC “Brain Train­ing” Exper­i­ment: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Sci­en­tific cri­tique of BBC/ Nature Brain Train­ing Experiment

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