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Brain Training Really Does Boost Memory

Update Date: Oct 08, 2013 06:32 PM EDT

Have you ever seen the television commercial for Luminosity? And wondered if brain training programs alike actually worked?

Brain training games, apps and programs promise the improvement of memory and attention while tracking changes in your adherence, but is it worthwhile?

Recent studies are here to tell you that indeed it does work to a minimal extent. Researchers plan to figure out the details in depth, for now they share their findings.

"The claims are based on evidence that shows a strong correlation between working memory capacity (WMC) and general fluid intelligence," said lead researcher and psychological scientist Randall Engle of Georgia Institute of Technology in a press release. "Working memory capacity refers to our ability to keep information either in mind or quickly retrievable, particularly in the presence of distraction. General fluid intelligence is the ability to infer relationships, do complex reasoning, and solve novel problems."

Researchers initiated a study with 55 undergraduate students. The students were to complete 20 days of training on the ability to acquire knowledge in certain tasks.

According to the press release, in the study, "Students in the two experimental conditions trained on either complex span tasks, which have been consistently shown to be good measures of WMC, or simple span tasks. With the simple span tasks, the students were asked to recall items in the order they were presented; for complex span tasks, the students had to remember items while performing another task in between item presentations. A control group trained on a visual search task that, like the other tasks, became progressively harder each day."

The results showed that those students who trained on "complex span tasks" presented a quick response to working memory capacity tasks, while the other groups did not show any benefits in fluid intelligence from the training.

"The results suggest that the students improved in their ability to update and maintain information on multiple tasks as they switched between them, which could have important implications for real-world multitasking," states the press release.

These findings impact those of who try to engage in multiple tasks daily, providing us feedback on how brain training can work.

The findings are published in the Journal Psychological Science

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