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What are the benefits over just playing a normal game? Sites such as Lumosity claim they are training your brain and making you smarter using "what seems like games".

Is there any scientific evidence from independent studies?

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    @Konrad: This is not an exact duplicate. It might be too broad though – Casebash Mar 23 '11 at 10:49
  • @Casebash … hmm. I thought the underlying principle between these games and sudoku was identical … – Konrad Rudolph Mar 23 '11 at 11:38
  • i don't see these questions as identical at all. Playing sudoku and playing brain games are entirely different activities. – Samuelson Mar 23 '11 at 11:41
  • and in addition, an answer for one of the questions would not necessarily answer the other one. – Samuelson Mar 23 '11 at 11:43
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There's probably a different answer for different games.

In 2008 there was a study that showed that a specific game called Dual-n-Back improves fluid intelligence. There are Android and iPhone versions of the game.

As far as Brain Age for the Nintendo DS goes, Nintendo doesn't claim that it based on sound science. They see the game primarily as entertainment.

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According to a statement released by the Stanford University Center on Longevity and the Berlin Max Planck Institute for Human Development, there is no solid scientific evidence to back up the promise that brain training video games make you smarter.

Signed by 70 of the world’s leading cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists, the statement minces no words:

The strong consensus of this group is that the scientific literature does not support claims that the use of software-based “brain games” alters neural functioning in ways that improve general cognitive performance in everyday life, or prevent cognitive slowing and brain disease.

The statement also cautions that although some brain training companies:

present lists of credentialed scientific consultants and keep registries of scientific studies pertinent to cognitive training…the cited research is [often] only tangentially related to the scientific claims of the company, and to the games they sell.

Additional Information: See this.

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There have been some studies, and as one might expect, the results have been mixed.

Here are two BBC reports of two different studies pointing in different directions

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    You could greatly improve your answer by looking at what the studies actually say, instead of reporting press articles. :-) – Sklivvz Mar 23 '11 at 11:06
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    @Sklivvz: Assuming you mean answer rather than question, my aim was to show that the evidence is mixed. For that purpose, the headlines are sufficient to indicate that different studies have reached different conclusions, and both were credible enough to get media attention. – Henry Mar 23 '11 at 11:58
  • Thanks corrected. My point is/was: do the study actually reach different conclusions, or is it an artefact of bad reporting by the BBC? – Sklivvz Mar 23 '11 at 12:02
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    neither, Sklivvz (at least not necessarilly). It all depends on the chosen test subjects, the chosen games, the conditions under which the tests were performed. My guess is that if there's any effect it'll be marginal and thus only come out of the noise under very specific conditions, designed to make the random spread in results as small as possible and the possible effect if any as large as possible. – jwenting Mar 25 '11 at 5:59

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