Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Brief history of brain training software


Structured sets of brain exercises designed to train specific brain areas and functions have been used by the military and by clinical neuropsychologists for a long time. What is happening now is that this approach is being repackaged and commercialized for new and wider audiences.

We define “brain training software” as fully-automated applications designed to assess and enhance cognitive abilities. Adaptive software-based programs present the user with various tools to exercise different brain structures and cognitive skills by continually responding to performance and increasing difficulty level incrementally. From now on we will focus on such programs.

These software products can be delivered either online (such as, via software (such as Posit Science Brain Fitness Program Classic), or can be used on devices (such as Nintendo’s Brain Age). The products can be either sold directly to consumers or via authorized clinicians (such as NovaVision and Cogmed).

Over the past few years, a few software companies have achieved commercial success in selling brain exercises to consumer and institutional buyers. Several companies have commercialized programs designed to alleviate specific conditions, such as attention deficit disorder, dyslexia or stroke-related vision problems. Others have launched products with broader healthy aging goals in mind.

Brain training software-based programs can complement and enhance other common daily activities. They are probably the best-suited format to deliver a calibrated mix of novelty and variety at constantly evolving levels of difficulty that ensure constant challenge.

Keep learning by reading more articles in the Resources section, and also please consider joining our free monthly Brain Fitness eNewsletter

This new online resource is based on the content from the book The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness (May 2009, $19.95), by Alvaro Fernandez and Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg.