“Brain Games are Bogus”: More Trouble for Posit Science

A post on the New Yorker website called “Brain Games are Bogus” provides considerable evidence for that conclusion. The evidence is about the use of brain games to raise the IQ of children and young adults, whereas Posit Science’s training program — which I raised questions about — is aimed at older people. However, it would be surprising if brain games have no effect until you reach a certain age. More plausible is that they never provide substantial benefits — at least, benefits broad enough and strong enough and long-lasting enough to be worth the training time (one hour/day for many weeks).

I read a Posit Science paper, with older subjects, that seemed to me to show that its training had little lasting benefit. The stated conclusions of the paper were more positive. Too bad the head of Posit Science didn’t answer most of my questions.

Thanks to Alex Chernavsky.


4 Responses to ““Brain Games are Bogus”: More Trouble for Posit Science”

  1. Ashish Says:

    Then there’s the meta-question of whether IQ is the limiting reagent in most people’s recipe for success in life. Beyond a not-very-high point, I doubt very much that it is.

  2. Nancy Lebovitz Says:

    I’ve been doing Posit’s exercises for a couple of months, and there seems to be an anti-depressant effect for me. It’s hard to be sure that the exercises are the cause because I’m doing more than one thing to oppose depression, but it’s enough to be worth the time and money so far. (I’m doing the $10/month rental.)

  3. Bob Levinson Says:

    So what can people do to improve their brain power, if not games?

    Seth: Better food, for one thing. Omega-3, butter, probably other foods as well. Avoid omega-6. It’s also possible that better sleep improves brain power.

  4. Alex Chernavsky Says:

    Seth, what about more exercise?

    For a Healthy Brain, Physical Exercise Trumps Mental Workout

    Seth: I have found that walking improves my brain test scores for a half-hour or so (I haven’t carefully measured how long the effect lasts).