Another article in the Wall Street Journal re: a number of the more visible brain-based products in the brain-fitness movement. If I had the time and resources it would be nice to do the following with these products, as well as many others that are available (see Sharp Brains for more)
1. Task analyze the cognitive/neuropsychological abilities that appear to be activated/treated with each product using a standard/accepted taxonomy of human cognitive abilities. In the domain of cognitive abilities I, of course, would analyze the products using the CHC taxonomy of cognitive abilities. Having a handful of independent experts in CHC theory complete this task analysis and then establish an "expert consensus" would be nice. Long story short----lets examine all of these products using the same cognitive taxonomic model and terminology.
2. Conduct a study (or series of studies) where the effectiveness of the programs (at least 3-4) are compared head-to-head with either (a) the same subjects (of course, using a counter-balanced design) and/or (b) randomly assign subjects to different product treatment groups (or use some matched subject groups). The use of a control (non-treatment group) would also be ideal. Have all subjects take a standard battery of pre- and post-test cognitive/neuropsychological measures and statistically compare the relative treatment effects against the control group.
I'm sure there is more, but this would provide some useful information for the consumer in this whole brain fitness movement.
Finally, if any readers of this blog have had experience with any of these products, and/or are aware of published empirical effectiveness studies, please leave a comment.
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