Lumosity Brain Games

lumosityAfter listening to Pandora free internet radio for a year, I began seeing an advertisement for Lumosity. It is a web-based program for training your brain, developed by a team of scientists and backed by real research in neuroscience. I decided one day to try it out. It is a free service where you get three games per day, with about twelve games rotating. If you pay for a subscription, more games and I assume more opportunities to play become available.

Lumosity provides a variety of short games that assist you to use your memory, hone your ability to focus attention, and force you to be flexible when interpreting what you see. The exercises are frustrating, but in a way that builds up your abilities. I compare it to sore muscles after a workout.  It is now part of my daily routine and I find myself looking forward to it each day. It provides feedback showing my progress versus prior sessions.

One game is called Penguin Pursuit. You navigate a penguin through a maze using the directional keys on your keyboard. Your goal is to get to a fish so your penguin can feast. Unfortunately there is another penguin you are racing to the same goal. To make things more interesting, the maze keeps rotating so you are constantly re-evaluating which way your directional commands will move your penguin.

A second game involves switching between the meaning of a word and the color of the letters. A simple example is: “What color is the following word “YELLOW” (printed in black letters). The answer is of course black. So the game requires you to reach agreement with conflicting information. You are asked questions and the faster you answer, the more questions you will get within the allotted time. Your number of correct answers is tallied and you can see if you are making progress over time.

In a third game, you must concentrate on the center of the screen to identify a letter while your periphery vision detects the location of a bird. Both flash only for a moment. You must click on the bird’s location and also correctly identify the letter. Success means you get the letter which helps you identify a bird, which once done ends up in your “bird watching journal.”

These are only three of the dozen or so free games and there are 40 or more games if you sign up for the subscription. It takes about ten minutes to play through three games. I think it is time well spent each day. Think of it as a personal trainer for your brain. Challenge your cognitive skills at –R.E.O.

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