Tuesday, February 06, 2007

WSJ reviews brain fitness products

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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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You can also stimulate your mind by walking while you work with a treadmill desk. You can see them at www.trekdesk.com in a live video.

Michael Logan, MS said...

Hello Tic Toc,

I am using four of the available products in a self-experiment, including the Posit Science brain fitness program, the Lumosity program, Brain Builder 3.0, and Mind Evolve which is a version of the dual n back process. I can only offer anecdotal evidence, but my Brain Builder 3.0 digit span and Lumosity scores got better when I started the Posit Science program, and took another leap with my dual n back experience. I am doing this for both commercial and personal reasons, as I am a 60 year old father with a 10 year old son, and a four year old daughter, and I am seeking to develop some online income through websites as a retirement hedge, so I am not an unbiased participant, but I am diligent in my practice. Might make a conversation possible.