In Brief: Large study finds brain training does not improve overall cognitive fitness

Brain training games are often promoted commercially as a way to build "mental muscle." Now a large randomized controlled study adds to the evidence that such programs don't work.

Investigators in Great Britain recruited more than 52,000 viewers of a popular BBC science program to participate in an online study comparing two types of brain training with a control condition. The investigators conducted online "benchmarking" evaluations before and after the study to assess four measures of cognitive functioning: reasoning, verbal short-term memory, spatial working memory, and paired-associates learning (the pairing of two words, which are then recalled together).

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