Nintendo brain-trainer ‘no better than pencil and paper’ (The Times):
“The survey of ten-year-old children found no evidence to support claims in Nintendo’s advertising campaign, featuring Nicole Kidman, that users can test and rejuvenate their grey cells. The Nintendo DS is a technological jewel. As a game it’s fine, said Alain Lieury, professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Rennes, Brittany, who conducted the survey. But it is charlatanism to claim that it is a scientific test.
Comments: as we have said before, Nintendo Brain Age and Brain Training should be seen as what they are: a game. And the construct of one’s having a “brain age” makes no sense.
Having said that, the researcher quoted then offers, out of the blue, a highly inaccurate statement:
“The study tested Nintendo’s claims on 67 ten-year-olds. “That’s the age where you have the best chance of improvement,” Professor Lieury said. “If it doesn’t work on children, it won’t work on adults.”
That assertion (that something won’t “work” on adults because it won’t “work” on kids) makes even less sense than having a “brain age”. The Cognitive Reserve research shows the need for lifelong mental stimulation – and the reality is that kids are more exposed to novelty and challenge all the time, whereas older adults may not be. Further, that claim (something that doesn’t “work” on kids won’t “work” on adults) has already been tested and proven wrong:
In a couple of recent trials, discussed here, the same strategy game (Rise of Nations, a complex challenge for executive functions), played for the same number of hours (23) showed quite impressive (untrained) cognitive benefits in people over 60 – and no benefits in people in their 20s.
How can this be? Well, we often say that our brains need novelty, variety and challenge – and it should be obvious that those ingredients depend on who we are Read the rest of this entry »