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How Lumosity Brain Games Work

Benefits of Lumosity Brain Games
Lumosity users report improvements in memory, concentration and even test scores.
Lumosity users report improvements in memory, concentration and even test scores.

Ever since she started grappling with Lumosity's brain games in 2011, Jennifer Pierce says she has seen real benefits. A speech pathologist from Montana, Pierce says she found the number-related games especially difficult. "Because I'm not strong in math, I found the math and spatial orientation games quite challenging," she says.

Even though Pierce doesn't play every day, she still has noticed that she can concentrate better and be more productive at work than she was before she found Lumosity. "One day I was working on a report but was really tired and couldn't concentrate. So, I decided to play Lumosity," she says. "I completed that day's training and when I was finished, I was more alert and focused." Even in her most dreaded subject, math, Pierce has seen improvements. "I find myself more easily making mental calculations rather than using my fingers," she says.

Lumosity reports that, on average, its users demonstrate a 10 percent improvement in working memory and a more than 20 percent spike in attention after just 10 hours of training [source: Perng]. And while there certainly appear to be general benefits for anyone exercising the brain with Lumosity's games, some research shows that the mental workouts can be especially helpful for certain people. For example, research out of Stanford University that was published in the peer-reviewed journal "Brain Injury" in December 2010 found that Lumosity training improved the cognitive performance and brain activity in the prefrontal cortex of childhood cancer survivors. In 2011, researchers from the University of New South Wales in Australia also discovered that patients with mild cognitive impairment saw improvement in their sustained attention after Lumosity training [source: Perng].

For his part, Kent Crenshaw, the teacher from Tennessee, doesn't just test out the benefits from Lumosity on his students. Crenshaw himself did the training for 6 months before he incorporated it into his classes. An engineer by training who has taught physics, Crenshaw says the Lumosity games are far superior to other methods promoted as providing brain benefits. "This puts crossword puzzles in the slow category," he says.