So I decided to subscribe to one of those brain softwares you can find on the net. You know, one of those claiming they are backed by serious science and stuff, and how doing their exercises daily will make you smarter. I just wanted to give it a try. Maybe there was something new on the market, something I wasn’t aware of, and maybe there has been a real breakthrough in this type of brain enhancement claims. So I did some research, tried to find something recent, something with big claims, and something that seemed backed up by some serious guys.
So I did find something to my liking, and I was surprised to see I was actually kinda excited by this. Good start. Apparently they had been able to stimulate my curiosity and my dopamine levels were way up. Four tests were given. In total it lasted something like 10 minutes. Now I’m not going into details about the exact type of exercise and everything, but after doing the test, my skepticism was back. this was not the promised break-through in brain science I was promised…
How it works
You see, whenever we exercise a certain cognitive skill, we become better at it. But we only become better at the particular exercise, and there is hardly, if any, spill over effect to other, even closely related tasks and cognitive skills. So if you do Sudoku, you become better at Sudoku, and it won’t help you with crossword puzzles or playing chess. If you exercise remembering numbers, you won’t become better at remembering letters, or names.
So, no, you won’t become smarter, or get a better IQ by playing certain brain games on your computer. It’s just not gonna happen. And this ‘brain test’ giving me my daily ‘brain profile’ was just one more of these brain games where you automatically become better at, thus creating the illusion of improving your brain…
It’s basically a scam…
So knowing a thing or two about the brain, I decided to use some of my brain hacks to prove my theory. And behold, on the second day, my results were 50% higher than the day before! I had improved my brain by 50% overnight! That’s just short of a brain miracle… And yes, just as suspected, in the following days, as my brain was assimilating the rules of their games and became better at spotting the right answers, I continued to improve my scores.
So after four days, and getting closer every day to becoming the new Einstein, I decided to cancel my subscription.
Seriously, these are just a waste of time. And how to spot one of these scams is actually easy: Basically, each time you’re being asked to do the same exercise (or set of exercises) over and over again, you’re being played.
So yes, in the end, I did become smarter. Maybe not 50% smarter, but I did learn that there is still no such thing as a brain improvement program through brain games and the like.
Real Brain Improvement
But we can improve our brain. Through our lifestyle choices we can stimulate both neurogenesis and neuroplasticity. Understanding our capability for creating more new neurons and putting them to good use, is probably one of the biggest brain science break-through of these last few years. Here are the real keys to a better brain and a better life. And just as we are complex, multi-dimensional beings, improving our brain needs a similar multi-dimensional approach.