5 Awesome Brain Trainers
Taking brain enhancing supplements would be practically useless if you didn’t have a way to accurately track down your results. With the rising popularity of nootropics, it’s becoming difficult to see which supplements work and which ones don’t, as the market is becoming more and more saturated. While some supplements actually do some good for your brain, there are others out there that simply give you a buzz or high, but don’t actually do anything long-term.
The best way to see what actually works and what doesn’t would be to try and record your progress as accurately as possible and note any differences along the way. But you needn’t worry about the details, as there are specific tests already available out there that do exactly that. Most of them are free, but for more detailed analyses, you might have to put in some extra money.
1. Lumosity ($15 a month/ $80 per year) – www.lumosity.com
Lumosity is probably the most popular online brain training program out there. It’s available on the computer, as well as for iOS and Android mobile platforms. The game itself was created by a neuroscience research company based in San Francisco, boasting 9 peer-reviewed studies, 36 university collaborators, 60 million members, and a prestigious research network through their Human Cognition Project.
Lumosity has over 40 different scientific games, brain tests, and even a personal trainer/ data analyzer so that you’re able to track your progress every day and make comparisons in your progress over the past months. The games and puzzles presented in Lumosity are also categorized so that any game you’re playing is working on your brain, strengthening a cognitive process. The categories are split into memory, problem solving, and processing speed, where you are mostly playing against a clock.
Playing just once a day, you’re supposedly able to strengthen all processes in your brain, and the creators claim that you’ll see substantial improvements after just a couple months.
2. CogniFit Brain Fitness ($15) – www.cognifit.com
Cognifit is another popular option and is very similar to Lumosity in that you can also play its games on your iPhone. While they are planning to release a version for Android, it is currently only available for iOS. Cognifit gives you games that are pretty addictive and are actually quite fun to play. A proprietary program assesses your cognitive ability and where you stand amongst other players in your age group, and they give you games that are just right for you – not too easy or difficult – that is supposed to stimulate development.
Like Lumosity, their games are also broken down and analyzed to give you specific information on your brain’s cognitive processes, allowing you to find out which areas exactly you need to improve on.
The game is initially free, allowing you to play four different games as much as you want, but to get the full package and more in-depth analyses and data on improvements in your brain, it’s a $15 a month subscription.
3. gbrainy (free) – www.wiki.gnome.org/gbrainy
gbrainy is another game that was designed to improve cognitive processes in the brain, while accurately measuring progress and providing some in-depth analyses. The system might not be as intuitive as Lumosity or CogniFit in terms of delivering you games for your level, but there are a number of different difficulties you can choose from, allowing it to be played by practically anyone, from children to the elderly.
The games in gbrainy are categorized into the following: Logic puzzles, which challenge reasoning and thinking skills, Mental calculation, which provide mathematical problems designed to improve calculation skills and speed, Memory trainers, which were designed to challenge short term memory, and Verbal analogies, to improve vocabulary and verbal aptitude.
4. Quantified Mind (free) – www.quanitified-mind.com
Quantified Mind is another free brain trainer app that is based around creating routines that will improve mental performance. Quantified Mind is only currently available to be played on your computer, but the company has plans of releasing app versions in the near future. Quantified Mind designs short, fun tests and experiments that are based on improving reaction times, executive function, verbal learning, working and short-term memory, visual perception and cognitive skills, and even motor skills. The games themselves are rather simple and may not be as visually appealing as the top 3 Brain Trainers on this list, but Quantified Mind gives a good overview and breakdown on the basic cognitive processes, while adapting their tests to those used by psychologists to produce accurate results. They only have about 20 different tests available, so they don’t have the most varied repertoire out there, but it’s completely free and it works quite well.
5. Brain Workshop (free) – www.brainworkshop.sourceforge.net
While it might seem a little underwhelming the first time you visit their website, Brain Workshop actually does the job well. Brain Workshop might not offer a lot of variety or personalization like Lumosity and Cognifit, but it’s completely open source and will run on Windows PCs and Macs.
Brain Workshop itself is based on research studies on the dual back n-back memory task and its positive influence on short term memory and fluid intelligence. The creators point out that the study is quite remarkable as fluid intelligence was previously thought of as constant, and something that cannot be improved.
The Brain Workshop game reproduces the conditions in the original study, promising users the ability to improve their intelligence and memory. Brain Workshop also offers additional game modes like Triple N-Back and Arithmetic N-Back, which extend the gameplay even further. Brain Workshop also offers statistics to measure your improvements and progress, as well as graphs that are easy to configure.
It definitely isn’t the most beautiful game out there, but it runs well on most computers, and the science behind it is quite compelling.
There you have it – that’s our top 5 list on the 5 best brain trainers available out there. While some of them are a bit expensive, surely you should be able to justify the cost for the single most important organ you have in your body, the brain. If not, we’re sure you’ll still benefit from using the free options available, as they will still do a pretty decent job at tracking your progress with regards to taking nootropics.
Have another Brain Trainer program you’d like to share? Let us know by sending us a message!