Brain Games and Luminosity. Is it a scam?

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Many of you have most likely seen Luminosity commercials or heard about it's efficacy. It claims to train your brain using the power of neuroscience and neuroplasticity! How scientific sounding is that?! But are they just using buzzwords or is this legit?

Designed by neuroscientists.PNG

Still sounds pretty convincing. Start their training and they'll give you an insight into how they will train your brain to be better and smarter.

in a nutshell.PNG

Graph with a picture of a brain. Can't go wrong there. Science!

The real question is, does it really work? Go to and look at their portion of the science behind it. They claim to have published many papers and given many talks on the project. But that's from the website itself, of course they're not going to say it's a scam. Well a third party study was done on these brain games and Dr. Shelli Kessler has led a study at Stanford to try and prove whether or not these do work.

Her experimental group played the Luminosity game four times a week for 12 weeks. The results before and after the 12 weeks showed they improved on "word finding, executive functioning, and processing speed" over a control group.  However this study had flaws, as it depended on self-report for a few measures.

Two more studies gave conflicting results. Professor Susan Jaeggi led a study that showed positive results of brain training game, while a Georgia tech study found no such effect on it's participants. There is new research coming out that says that playing video games in one area can improve cognition in that area. But for how long? Do you have to constantly play these games to maintain that level of cognition? And are the Luminosity games the best ones for your brain? These questions are still being debated by scientists right now.

I did the free trial myself and this is what Luminosity claimed it could do for me:

How it will help me.PNG

But what do those numbers MEAN?! I'll be 92% better at spotting birds and remembering tiles (two games the trails had me do)? Or will I score better on my completely unrelated biology test? I don't know about other people that see these ads but it really does seem like a sensationalist scam.

1 Comment

I personally never understood what luminosity was or why we even needed it but after reading your blog I agree with your notion. I believe that these benefits are irrelevant to the learning process.The efforts do seem like a scam and consumers need to protect themselves from this. After all what does the fact that a person can spot birds better have to do with biology?

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