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Brief history of brain training software

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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 www.lumosity.com), 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.

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About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters, and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm and think tank tracking health and performance applications of brain science.