Have you found yourself going into a room and forgetting why you went there in the first place? Do you forget the names of acquaintances you’ve met several times? Maybe you’re like me and spent 20 minutes desperately searching for your keys only to find them in the refrigerator! Whether it is due to stress or trying to juggle too many things at one time, sometimes we feel like we’re losing it! Lumosity is one of several sites designed to be a place to go and exercise your mind, hopefully making the juggling act that is modern life a little easier.
The Lumosity team has designed mental exercises to improve brain performance in five key areas: speed, attention, memory, problem solving, and flexibility. The company claims that regular users will experience improved memory, enhanced mood, better problem solving skills, and faster thinking.
The company has teamed up with an impressive array of neuroscientists from top universities like Stanford, UCSF, and Berkeley to create an easy-to-use cognitive enhancement program. To find out if Lumosity is right for you, read on.
Try Lumosity. It’s fun and it improves memory and attention. Get started for free.
Who does Lumosity help?
The website claims to be able to improve cognition for virtually everyone. When I logged in, I was notified that I could achieve an estimated 92% (!) improvement based on my age group (20-29 years). This is a huge projected increase, and it is not the same for every age group. Still, everyone can enhance his or her brainpower with enough training.
There are also special versions of Lumosity brain training that have been designed to rehabilitate people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cancer patients, individuals with post traumatic stress disorder, and patients with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and combat-related cognitive deficits.
What does Lumosity do?
The people at Lumos Labs are cognitive scientists and neuroscientists who used their expertise in learning and memory to design the Lumosity games. They also performed randomized, controlled studies to demonstrate that regularly playing the games improves spatial working memory and visual attention. Groups of individuals played the games for a period of time, and their performance on a battery of accepted neuropsychological tests that measure cognitive abilities was recorded before and after the study. The research was presented at the 2006 Society for Neuroscience convention, but it has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
The program consists of online games and exercises that are designed to improve one of five areas of cognition. The games are straightforward, sometimes challenging, and usually enjoyable. There are roughly 40 options, and at least two are added every month. Some can only be unlocked with a subscription.
You can start by completing a guided brain fitness course made up of 30 sessions, or you can focus on areas that you think need improvement.
Word Bubbles is the site’s most popular game and is said to help with the Flexibility domain. It gives you a three-letter sequence (e.g., CAR), and you have to think of words of different lengths that start with those three letters.
How can I tell if Lumosity is helping me?
The site provides detailed feedback with every completed exercise. Lumosity algorithms take your test scores and generate a Brain Performance Index or BPI. This number is a function of the number of games played (up to 1000 games). Basically, this is the website’s equivalent of an IQ score.
They claim that users who play at least 1000 games can expect their BPI score to double, regardless of age or starting ability.
Lumosity Testimonials and Reviews
How do more than 20 million members feel about Lumosity? Well, it recently was a PC Magazine Editors’ Choice Winner: “Lumosity provides a suite of fun and challenging games that operate near-flawlessly as part of a personalized brain-training program.” Read feedback from real actual users below.
Cheryl Lynn Baxter on facebook: I like playing these mind sharpening games, they help me to prepare for everything and anything! Try Lumosity with your morning java to start the day right!
Anne (ajones02) tweeted: Playing Lumosity games. Fun. Scores are improving.
Calliecrowe wrote the following on viewpoints.com: I joined this website for a year to see if I liked it. It was very well organized, easy to use, and had enough variety in the games to hold my interest. I found myself playing certain games over and over, but sometimes had to make myself play games I wasn’t particularly good at. I do feel that the website does what it sets out to do, and that is to improve thinking skills. If you follow the training program it will improve your brain capabilities. The only downside is the cost, although after the first year they did offer a $30 discount for signing up for another year.
Neutral or negative
Rebekah E. Hall (MFTStudent) tweeted: Tried out @lumosity’s BrainTrainer app. Got horrid score on 1 game because display was cut off on iPh*ne screen. Email in to support.
Marie S. (marieazy) complained about emails from Lumosity on Twitter: It’s ludicrous @lumosity has spammed me for months to renew an account I barely used & to make them stop I have to login and contact them.
Marcia L. wrote the following on sitejabber.com: I love the games and agree they are fun and well designed. What I have found very frustrating is the constant technical problems. For example: I play a game and then when I want to play the game a second time, the game won’t load. Or, on many occasions you can’t even log into the site.
The website offers three levels of access. Visitors have free, limited access. Cost varies by country. In the U.S., a monthly subscription to Lumosity is $14.95. Committing to a 12-month subscription ($80.40) will save approximately $99 compared to the monthly fee. They also offer two-year ($119.76 or 4.99 per month) and lifetime ($299.95 one-time fee) options. It’s not as pricey as a gym membership, and you’re probably more likely to use it. In addition to the web version, there are apps available for iPhone and iPad. These portable versions provide a productive way to pass time on your daily commute or while waiting in line. They include 35 daily training sessions consisting of seven brain games.
Lumosity guarantees a 400-point improvement in BPI if you use the program regularly at least three times per week (10 minutes per session) and complete at least 1 training course in a 1-year period. Otherwise, they will refund the full cost of your membership.
Should I Try Lumosity?
While I was playing the games, I was reminded of different courses I had taken on cognitive science. As a neuroscientist, I could see that the games were well designed and based on up-to-date cognitive science principles. Although I can certainly see how playing the games would improve your performance over time, it is not exactly clear how they would specifically improve mental function in day-to-day life. Still, improving your processing speed and memory with games is likely to increase your cognitive function on some level.
The company offers a free, seven-day trial if you want to see what the program can offer you. I found the website to be easy to navigate, and the games were engaging. They also offer a lot of variety. Plus, it is fun to see your score improve over time. However, like any regimen, you should commit yourself to regular use to see real improvement in the five cognitive domains. I had tried out the site several months ago, then forgot about it. It’s important to keep at it!
Try Lumosity – It’s fun and it improves memory and attention. Get started for free.