24

Lumosity is a popular website that claims to help you become a more intellectually capable individual.

Harness your brain's neuroplasticity and train your way to a brighter life"

  • Is it truly possible to improve your IQ?

  • Is IQ a good measure of Intelligence?

  • Are they actually onto something, like PositScience?

Here are some studies I have found that Lumosity use to support their claims:

Lumosity has a user-community of over 35 million. There are likely to be duplicates and bots though but that is quite surprising. They seem to be amassing great profits and there are testimonies but those are only anecdotal evidence and not part of a well researched statistical study, and may even be fabricated.

  • 9
    Be careful: The question has a few false dichotomies in it. e.g. IQ may be well-defined AND impossible to improve. They could not be a scam AND not be onto something. There could be worthless testimonials that AREN'T fabricated. – Oddthinking Apr 22 '13 at 15:14
  • 1
    +1, I have already asked this question meta.skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/2135/… but due to some criticisms I then deleted it. – Carlo Alterego Apr 22 '13 at 20:47
  • 2
    @TheRouge relax I don't think Carlo intended to say you somehow copied the question, it looks to me like he is just reinforcing that this is a complete acceptable question. – isJustMe Apr 23 '13 at 13:55
  • 4
    The website does not appear to claim it improves one's intelligence. It claims to improve certain cognitive processes. From my understanding of the definitions, these are not the same things, though closely related. Perhaps the question should be re-worded slightly? FWIW, I just started a trail of their training, I'm not convinced so far what is gained on the site translates to real world situations. – bcworkz Apr 23 '13 at 20:59
  • 4
    Anecdotally, I get better at taking IQ tests when I practice taking IQ tests. So I'm pretty sure it's possible to "improve your IQ" as measured by an IQ test. – Rex Kerr May 3 '13 at 17:51
25
+50

The Scientific Consensus: No evidence they reduce cognitive decline

In October 2014, a consensus statement was produced that rejected the key claims about brain games. The list of signatories include Susanne Jaeggi, Michael Kane, Randy Engle, Hal Pashler and a number of other people who can be considered eminent in this field (and who you'll find cited below).

We object to the claim that brain games offer consumers a scientifically grounded avenue to reduce or reverse cognitive decline when there is no compelling scientific evidence to date that they do. The promise of a magic bullet detracts from the best evidence to date, which is that cognitive health in old age reflects the long-term effects of healthy, engaged lifestyles. In the judgment of the signatories below, exaggerated and misleading claims exploit the anxieties of older adults about impending cognitive decline. We encourage continued careful research and validation in this field.

Is it truly possible to improve your IQ?

No, all brain and IQ training games we know are bogus. Here's what's been discussed on this platform so far: Sudoku, video games,

Is IQ a good measure of Intelligence?

Yes, pretty good, but many people outside intelligence research don't think so. They're wrong, but this is such a bone of contention that you can find debates about the debate. I don't want to stray too much. Here's the question asked on this site.

Are they actually onto something, like PositScience?

No, they're not onto something, like PositScience.
PositScience is most likely the same, but geared towards the elderly from what I can tell from a cursory glance. They're a bit better at scientific street cred. ie. actually publishing peer-reviewed studies and responding to criticism.
But their studies don't support the strength of their marketing claims and, of course, they selectively leave out studies showing no benefit (by other researchers, but probably they also their own shock-full file drawer) and they have a huge conflict of interest.
Here's Hal Pashler calling them out and here's Seth Roberts calling them out.
The company's responses to those two callouts have been weak, but here's an affiliated author (got only a little money on the side) dealing well with criticism of a fairly weak study.

  • Thank you very much. I appreciate your intelligible and well-supported response. – The Rouge May 7 '13 at 1:08
  • Would you like to tackle this question too? skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/16161/… – Oddthinking May 7 '13 at 16:54
  • 1
    while IQ is a decent measure, it's a spot measurement and can change radically over a person's life. Also IQ isn't the same as IQ test scores, which is highly dependent on circumstances during the test as well as test preparation and training (some people are just better at test taking than others, that doesn't mean they're less intelligent). – jwenting Jul 10 '13 at 11:37
  • 1
    @jwenting Please. I won't challenge your anecdotes with my anecdotes. I gave you a good reference. Or Wikipedia. g means that it is not testing-style-specific. But yes, you can learn the results for a specific test by heart (if you're good at memorising, which is g-loaded, but I digress), you can practice some stuff. I didn't deny this in the first comment. If you read some of the links I posted, you'll find that one big problem with purported "training transfer effects" is that the training task is too similar to the outcome task. Chat, if you've got further questions, won't debate in c. – Ruben Jul 11 '13 at 9:17
  • 1
    @ChrisS I link just two things (the reason: this part-question has been aptly answered here already): A Wikipedia article and a question on this site. The answer on this site refers to an article from an APA task force which came to a consensus. That consensus supports my assertions. I gave another ref, Deary 2004, in the comments. Since you're such a helpful spirit, you might want to add these articles as references to the Wikipedia article. I refuse to debate this with you further, because you seem unwilling to assume good faith. – Ruben Jan 25 '14 at 10:48

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .