The Science Behind Brain Training
Today, the subject of brain training is a keenly discussed one with people polarised on both sides of the debate. It’s not surprising to see scientists and psychologists among those interested in the topic.
Questions about the efficacy of brain training often come to fore. Is it really effective? Can it enhance our productivity? First, to answer these questions, it is important to understand what brain training really is. Is there scientific backing? How exactly does it work? This post will answer these questions exhaustively.
What is brain training?
Think of it this way, our body parts are enhanced by constant activity. From muscles, to vision training, and even our vocal chords. We invest a lot of time developing these parts to make them better, so why not the same level of attention for our brain?
Every time we express concern about our weight or fitness level, someone suggests we go to the gym. Do you consider boosting your brain’s health by reading, studying or playing chess regularly? Research has proven that positive changes in the level of our mental activity lead to success in the long-term.
While it is widely known that physical training fosters a happier and healthier life, it begs the question; what exercises are good for the brain?
According to recent studies in neuroscience, your brain attains an optimum development between 16-25 years, afterwards it experiences a decline in cognitive abilities. For many people, this isn’t good to hear. Fortunately, there is a way to maintain cognitive alertness; by training your brain.
Of all our cognitive abilities, memory is one that is of top priority to most of us. Having a sharp, efficient memory makes us more confident while occasional memory lapses could have the opposite effect. There are currently seventeen scientific papers conducted by highly recognised researchers on the subject of improved memory performance.
- The IMPACT study- this involved a major study from researchers at the University of Southern California and Mayo Clinic. 487 subjects were tested and the results showed an average improvement of a decade of auditory memory.
The ability to concentrate on things that matter- and also important, to neglect those that don’t- is even more imperative than you might think. When you can place your attention on a discussion without being distracted by external factors (background noise and visuals around), you feel smart, connected and in control. Furthermore, being able to concentrate squarely helps your brain produce chemicals that improve assimilation and memory.
- In a study by Jennifer L.O’Brein, PhD, University of South Florida, titled “Cognitive training and selective attention in the aging brain,” it was shown that cognitive ability can be enhanced as we grow older by regularly exercising the brain. In addition to speeding neural responses, it increases white matter and increases activation.
- Mood and control
There are six studies that have been published regarding the effects of brain training exercise on mood and control. The results showed that people felt more confident and in better control of their life. It was also proven that they were less likely to experience the symptoms of depression.
- Dr. Fred Wolinsky of the University of Iowa, has published no fewer than 4 papers investigating how brain training affects mood and control. All four papers are the result of significant studies involving more than 1,500 respondents.
People without depression who brain trained regularly, we shown to depict have a 38% lower risk of major depression symptoms after a year.
More studies on the effectiveness of brain training
The COGITO study is perhaps the most convincing on showing the effectiveness of brain training activity. In the survey, 101 young men and women, aged 20 – 31 years, and an additional 103 individuals between 65 – 80 years were trained for 60 minutes every 2 – 3 days, in a total of 100 sessions.
One training session consisted of 12 exercises; 3 for working memory, 6 for comprehension and speed, and 3 for information recollection. There were adjustments made at the start of the study to match the performance of each participant, as shown in the pre-determined press.
The study was designed to determine whether perceived growth in trained cognitive areas also have an impact other cognitive skills- as well as observe if age affects these growths. The researchers also wanted to find out if progress in brain training could be transferred to regular life activities.
Major improvements in cognitive skill were noted- particularly in working memory. Working memory is important if we must understand complex issues, find solutions to problems, and store new information.
Regardless of their age or gender, all participants exhibited growth in their working memory after the training. The researchers posited that the training strengthened the neuronal links between the brain’s two frontal lobes, automatically enhancing working memory for both classes (young and old) of participants.
Qualities of effective brain training exercises
Although it may seem easy, brain training requires certain qualities to become effective. This is where Brain Trainer comes in; we have incorporated these qualities into courses guaranteed to make them work.
When you register with Brain Trainer, we give you a small test to evaluate your performance and inform us on how to personalise your training. This makes it unique, so you are challenged and able to get the most of your training.
- Goal specific
Each exercise developed by Brain Trainer is targeted at certain brain functions required in your daily life. Our exercises will meet these objectives and make you fit.
Many activities require regular practice to master. The more you complete and surpass your training, the better you become. As a result, we advise regular brain training of at least 15 minutes. Motivation is key to ensure you show up and continue to get better.
There’s scientific proof that if a task stops being difficult, your brain will lose interested and automise the process. As a result, the challenge factor drops. For example, the more you play Sudoku, the better you become. But as you master it, the challenge factor soon wanes.
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