Roger Dooley, author of the Neuromarketing blog, wrote in April an excellent overview of the Brain Fitness field in the FutureLab blog. Enjoy his entry Marketing Neuroscience: Brain Fitness.
Let me quote a couple of sentences:
“The two big driving forces for the brain fitness movement are demographics, particularly the aging baby boom population, and research, which indicates that the rate of brain impairment can be slowed by some kinds of mental stimulation and activity.”
“The real question for companies like Posit is whether people will pay a premium price for their product rather than, say, working free crossword puzzles or engaging in other mental activity that costs nothing. Some people who have the resources will happily pay for what they think is a proven and convenient solution to their problem. Even though people can walk for free, they still buy expensive treadmills and join health clubs in the name of cardio-vascular fitness. It’s no big leap to imagine spending a few hundred dollars if it seems likely to stave off the specter of mental decline.”
He also talks about the classic Nun Study, profiles Posit Science, and mentions Nintendo’s game Brain Age.
Neither the concept of Brain Fitness is relevant only for seniors, nor its only benefit is to prevent cognitive decline and, potentially, help delay conditions such as Alzheimer’s. In the 90s, eating well and exercising were shown to be crucial to our well-being and healthy aging. We join physical fitness gyms to work out our bodies, expand cardiovascular capacity and develop good muscles. Trainers teach us that novelty and variety are important and that having some structure helps us achieve our physical fitness goals. Now, the need to keep exercising our brains is starting to become understood, and Brain Fitness, or Mind Fitness, will grow to one day become as widespread as physical fitness, for kids, adults, and seniors. “Brain gyms” may well complement today’s gyms.