Brain Training Games Are Bullshit (lookin’ at you, Lumosity)

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It was scheduled to be a FF7 day today, but I got distracted by a topic which I wanted to address and also by a picture of a duck.

Let me open by stating my position in no uncertain terms:

‘Brain training’ games do not work.

It even feels redundant typing it out. You have to be a special breed of person to believe that feeding pretend fish on your Nintendo DS is going to put you on the road to Mensa membership.

It’s pretty much the same ruse that has run in perpetuity for a while now, albeit under different guises. Can you learn French in your sleep listening to tapes? No, you obviously can’t. Why ‘obviously’? Because I don’t care how much pseudo-science is out there: you’ve never met someone who learned French in their sleep. Fact.

C’Mon, We All Know These Games Aren’t Really Effective. They’re Just Fun!

I beg to differ. But at least the Brain Training games on the DS are a little bit tongue in cheek, and you don’t have to look far to see the ‘THIS IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT ONLY’ stickers. So the only people playing them are the easily conned, and those who are really lacking on entertainment options.

But here’s a bunch of scam artists who will go out of their way to convince you playing daft games can improve your intelligence.

Behold Lumosity and the ad which won’t leave my YouTube browsing alone:

Man, I’d hate to be stuck on a date with Emily. I don’t know what it is about her in this ad but I get the impression she’s one break up away from a break down.

Manic schizophrenia aside, what Lumosity (or Luminosity, as myself and others keep mistakenly calling it – great branding douchebags)  want to suggest is that age-old stereotype that people with thick-rimmed glasses are more intelligent.

Not being disparaging here. I’m actually quite keen to push that stereotype as much as possible.

But What’s Shady About Luminosity, and Why is it a Scam?

Well, the scam is a pretty smart one because it melds together not just one but two classic plays in the world of conning – the idea that you don’t have to work hard for something because there’s a hidden shortcut, and the inherent belief that you could be brilliant if only you could tap some hidden skillset lurking somewhere in your brain-case. It’s a lovely mixture of ‘lose weight easily with this one weird old tip!’ and… erm… I guess some variation of ‘your penis could be bigger’ or whatever.

But there’s also a third, really clever ingredient here – the lovely, sticky glaze which holds the whole scam cake together and distracts you from the fact that it’s actually a shite sandwich. I’m talking about the science.

SCIENCE. Look at all the science!

See that graph? Yup, the guys at Lumosity perform LABORATORY TESTS. Such hard-hitting SCIENCE has concluded that Lumosity gamers have improved their memory span by a whopping 2.5! Yikes. To put this in perspective, that’s over two memories more than most people.

Of course, I’m being a little glib here. You can check out the full scientific research over at the ‘Lumos Labs’ section of their site. You could, although I wouldn’t recommend it given that their “science” is a total crock of crap.

Perhaps I’m wrong. After all, the research part of the Lumosity site does include some increasingly bigger words, footnote references to physical books (!) and statements made by people with intimidating letters after their names. And so I absolutely have to defer you to someone who did a way better job at picking apart the fledgling Lumosity way back in 2009 – go read Matthew Hartfield’s dissection here, which is more literate, informed and ergo entertaining than the page you’re currently on. If you need any further convincing, he’s got a PhD for goodness’ sake. He’s a scientist! Talking about science!


So the science of Lumosity is clearly ‘not real science’ at best and ‘invented by a tired freelance copywriter late into the night’ at worst. Their use of the word ‘neuroplasticity’ is also a bit suspect – yes, neuropasticity is a thing (here’s the definition) but not in the way they use it.

Sketchy PR Practices 

If you haven’t already, go back to Matthew’s article linked above and pay some attention to the comments.  I’ve kindly requested that Matthew look into the originating IPs if available – given his inactivity I doubt that will happen – but I strongly suspect they converge on one logical conclusion:

Lumosity fake comments under bogus profiles.

I don’t need to point to any comment in particular. If you weren’t savvy to the fact that shady companies do this on negative blog posts commonly, you’d easily be fooled by the well-constructed comments. But look at them with the knowledge that a company could not only do this easily but has a massive incentive to do so, and you’ll see how kooky it all looks.

And isn’t it interesting that they’ve blocked comments on their own YouTube videos? Personally, I instantly go into raised-eyebrow-mode whenever someone forcefully bans open-forum discussion on content they themselves put out there. It’s a tactic employed by snake-oil salesmen with something to hide (Creationist pillocks like Ken Ham and Kent Hovind are classic proponents of the YouTube Comment Blocking defence).

But I Don’t Care if Lumosity Works… I Just Want To Play Casual Games! Stop Being Such a Nay-Sayer!

Sure. I know I now say nay to sway, but any nays I say as a nay-sayer should not waylay anyway.

By that, I mean It’s not my business to tell you how to play games, let alone what to do with your life and what (nonsense) to buy into and believe in. But if there’s a single good reason not to trust Lumosity with your custom, it’s because Lumosity does not trust you as a customer. Sign up to Lumosity and not only do they want to extract as much money from you through their own service as they can, but they’ll also get some value from your details by selling them to spammers – I haven’t personally verified the following info, but see no reason to discount it as worthless:


In a nutshell, it’s well worth avoiding Luminosity.

Sorry, Lumosity.

I keep doing that.



* Can you believe they’ve managed to convince people to give them over $70m dollars of funding at last count?

** $68m of this funding went on making sure I get the Lumosity ad every time I watch something on YouTube.

*** I can prove it. I have graphs.


UPDATE – 15/10/2013

So when I initially wrote this, I had no idea if anyone would read it. This is a comedy site primarily designed to raise money for the fantastic Child’s Play charity, and usually one-off posts like this outside of our main game series go unread. By the way, do consider donating a dime to the fundraiser if you’ve enjoyed reading this, and maybe poke around the site and see if there’s anything else you like.

But back to the matter at hand. Since its publication, this has become the highest-read page on the site and continually attracts hundred of readers a day. Many of these visitors aren’t aware that the site is really just for entertainment only and should be taken with a pinch of salt, which is entirely fair and understandable. As a result, though, people are then proceeding to the comments below – broomstick firmly affixed ass-wards – and trying to defend Lumosity.

There has been a lot of great insight added to the comments, including many studies, techniques and angles to the story that I hadn’t thought of. Alongside that, you’ll see a lot of people who think I’m dead wrong and Lumosity is totally legitimate – you can easily tell which of people in the comments have been using intelligence-enhancing, brain training products by the semi-legible, badly thought-out drivel that they write there. Scroll to the end of the post and you’ll see what I mean.


It has become hard to individually address the army of lobotomized gibbons that feel the need to mash their fists on the keyboard, but since they all boil down to the same thing, I’ll do a blanket answer for them all here:

1) This is an entertainment piece and, because of which, I didn’t go into the hard science. Plenty of people have, I already linked to a very good writer who did, and I spent a lot of time reading both sides of the argument before adding my own observations which I didn’t think had been voiced. None of this justifies your cry of ‘omg u need 2 do ur research’. I did. You’re wrong.

2) I don’t care if you ‘tried it an it raelly works!!1!’. I care about what empirical science says, not your anecdote. In addition, you’re wrong.

3) No, I have not used Lumosity. Does that weaken my argument? No, because see #2. I care about what empirical science says, not anecdotal reports (good or bad) and that would include my own experience. And no, I’m not going to try it. Why would I waste my money given that empirical science says it doesn’t work? See also: you’re wrong.

4) “Of course brain training works! Why wouldn’t it? The brain is a muscle/fluid intelligence/practice every day…” Nope. You bought their bullshit. You’re wrong.

5) “What harm could it do?” Plenty – Lumosity, Cogmed and the others propagate bad science and use it to take people’s money without being able to deliver what they promise. All the while, you’re wasting time you could have spent doing real exercise and even worse – it can lead to despondency among those looking for genuine mental improvement, such as those with degenerative brain diseases or age-related loss of memory. These are all high prices to pay for being wrong. Oh, and you’re wrong.

Whether some of the comments are from Lumosity themselves or affiliated parties is open to debate, and all I’ll say on the matter is that some of the IP addresses (and yeah, I track them) are suspiciously from San Francisco, where the HQ is based. Just sayin’.

But to close off, I’ll post a typical comment here followed by my reply in red. It pretty much says everything I want to add to the rebuttals, and provides the Pro-Lumites with the science they keep whining about. Here goes:

“What a load of bull. You’re suggesting that travelling is the way forward to develop brain power? What the heck are you defining as power here? How can travelling or watching a documentary improve anything other than learning? I think everyone should learn about other cultures and get out of the house and explore the world but that is another topic entirely.”

I have absolutely no idea what he’s talking about here. I cannot find where I talked about ‘travelling is the way forward to develop brain power’, but at least we agree that travel broadens the mind, loosely speaking. He might be referring to a video I just put out before receiving this comment? Dunno.


“You need to understand that games, some similar to the lumosity ones, have been used successfully as part of neural rehabilitation. You can also then think of other games such as tetris, chess, sudoku, etc and how they help the users develop certain skills. You will also find that those who practice lots of math generally are better at maths than those who watch tv all day. Well, lumosity is all about practise and it has quite a few math games (not to mention information processing, spatial awareness, etc). You won’t improve anything without practice and Lumosity does not suggest you do… which is why there are sessions for you to practice daily/weekly/etc… so I don’t understand where you get your ideas from. Oh wait, I think I know.. you’ve never played a Lumosity game!”

How can I ‘get my ideas’ from having not done something? Not sure where his train of thought was going there, but it crashed into the station. Anyway, see the mini-FAQ above.

“Well then, why not give it a go? There are quite a few free games anyway! To be fair, for someone who advocates broadening your mind with travelling, this article is a ‘little’ on the narrow-minded side.”

Again, I fail to see the travel link. Nice sales pitch for Lumosity, though.

“Reading up Nature Neuroscience would also help you learning a bit more on how the brain works. What’s up with today’s lay dudes blogging and moaning about things they don’t know (and don’t bother knowing) anything about!?!! Yeah, it’s a lot easier than doing research.”

Remember that journalists and ‘lay dude bloggers’ like myself are impartial when writing about this kind of thing. Heck, I didn’t expect anyone to read this post much less to get into a war about it – I just took a look at all of the info out there with no prior biases, and felt compelled to call bullshit.

On the other hand Lumosity, and their butthurt customers, have every reason to be biased when making their grandiose claims. Perhaps you should do some proper research yourself, and as I keep having to remind Lumosity’s puppets in these comments, that does NOT include A) Annecdotes, or B) Lumosity’s own biased studies.

So I’ve decided to do the job for you. Here’s some of the research for you, if you can be bothered to look at something not put out by Lumosity. Note that these are peer-reviewed studies with massive control groups – on the contrary, most of the ‘positive’ evidence usually comes from tiny control groups, and if you look hard enough, the scientists/article writer is usually in the pocket of the brain training companies.

“Last year, Hampshire published research showing that out of 44,600 individuals who took an earlier version of the MRC tests, those who had regularly brain-trained showed no advantage in any form of intelligence relative to those who did not. By contrast, those who regularly played video games did better in short-term memory capacity and reasoning.”

“No evidence of intelligence improvement after working memory training: a randomized, placebo-controlled study.”

“David Z. Hambrick, associate professor of psychology at Michigan State University, and his colleagues Thomas S. Redick (lead researcher) and Randall W. Engle will soon be publishing new evidence that fails to replicate the very study that so much of the commercial industry rests upon.”

“… A 2010 study by the neuroscientist Dr Adrian Owen, which tracked 11,000 adults over a six-week computer-based training regime… reported benefits in executing the tasks themselves but little general advantage in other areas. Owen concluded that regular players of brain games got better at the games themselves through familiarity rather than showing any marked improvement in fluid intelligence ”

“The answer, however, now appears to be a pretty firm no—at least, not through brain training. A pair of scientists in Europe recently gathered all of the best research—twenty-three investigations of memory training by teams around the world—and employed a standard statistical technique to settle this controversial issue. The conclusion: the games may yield improvements in the narrow task being trained, but this does not transfer to broader skills… Playing the games makes you better at the games, in other words, but not at anything anyone might care about in real life.

… Over the last year, the idea that working-memory training has broad benefits has crumbled. One group of psychologists, lead by a team at Georgia Tech, set out to replicate the Jaeggi findings, but with more careful controls and seventeen different cognitive-skills tests. Their subjects showed no evidence whatsoever for improvement in intelligence… This failed replication was recently published in one of psychology’s top journals, and another, by Case Western Reserve University, has been published since. The recent meta-analysis, led by Monica Melby-Lervåg, of the University of Oslo, and also published in a top journal, is even more damning…”

Also worth reading:–far-transfer-effects-643-763 -


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  22. I think questioning claims of company advertising is always a good practice. But your arrogant attitude “everyone who doesn’t agree with me is stupid” automatically makes your claims very suspect–such as the youtube comment you think must be from the company. Perhaps it is, but your assumption without any proof is as bogus as you claim their advertising is.

    • Fine point. I’m not a fan of the aggressive, in your face, “I’m right so shut up” argument tactic either. It’s almost as bad as asking “why would you even use something that doesn’t work, idiot”. This isn’t to discredit his claims. Yeah he’s got all that empirical science to abuse.

      Also, I’m not even sure if he knows that the app is free. Because quite a few of his claims rely on the payment aspect which, yeah, that’s a gimmick.

      Anyway, now I want to know which games, puzzles, have any benefit to your intelligence. Chess, perhaps, is probably held pretty high there. But even Bobby Fischer (likely the greatest Chess player to ever live) said it was “all memorization”. Which makes sense, as the combinations of play are only so limited. But there has to be some intuition developed there right? Is pattern recognition a measure of skill or pure memorization? I don’t know. Is any other form of practice or learning beneficial? I don’t know, I’m not going to pretend like I know everything.

      I’ll just keep playing Street Fighter V because it makes you think. And you improve. I don’t know WHAT is improving. All I know is that I’m successfully executing moves and reacting to my opponent. The game is very fast paced and very dynamic, so any skill achieved should be praised. Or not. As if it’d improve any desirable real life skill. Even then your brain is probably just narrowing itself to that specific game, right? Lumosity games are just little baby Street Fighters, except there’s a large variety of them. So you just keep improving [something] while having fun. What a shame.

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  24. Great discussion. Lumosity over complicated the process, I’m a neurologist so am enjoying reading the comments
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  25. I have been using the free version for almost year to help track my recovery after suffering a subarachnoid brain haemorrhage last June. Some of the tasks/games are very similar to those which the neuro-psychologist used to determine any cognitive issues and assess possible damage. I have found the package very useful, in that I have been able to monitor improvement but I cannot say if it has caused any improvement. I

  26. Hey man, if you have a low BPI – don’t take it out on Lumosity!

    Jokes aside, I think the site is good for some people and everyone is different in the way they function.

    I think it’s a good program to get started in the morning. Some of the games force you to really pay attention and focus on key objectives to make it to the next level which is harder. The problem solving and divided attention games help give your a mind a quick kick when you wake up.

    Just my thoughts on it.

    BPI – 1,000,000,000,000

  27. I know it seems like a load of B.S that playing games will improve someone’s IQ but they have it right about attention because if you can pay attention to the mundane games on their website then you can pay attention to anything.
    As for the person that refused to allow people to refute them well as you are aware as a blogger there are a lot of uneducated trolls on the internet and you tube is full of them.
    As you probably already know that YouTube a meeting ground for them.

    The user that was claiming that lumosity is not a waste of time should have sent a link to the loggers and people who want to discuss the website claims of improving peoples memory and language skills to a website open for debates.

    i looked at their lab and it did not show me that data needed to support their claims.

    I would not go as far as calling them scammers though.

    P.S nice Mario back ground

  28. So I don’t think Lumosity works but heads up, neuroplasticity is real, I just thought you might want to do a little more research before writing your articles….Look up Adam Gazzaley and his research

  29. All of these brain trainers seem to be based on tasks found in computerized neurocognitive batteries. So, if you use a batter as a baseline, then play games based on it, and then take the battery again it should come as no surprise you’ll see improvement. Most of us would call it retest effects. So, garbage in and garbage out.

    It’s easier to sell games than neuroscience. Take the neurocognitive batteries themselves, that actually identify cognitive strenghts and weaknesses. These have tremendous value for the general population yet have not been commercialized to nearly the same extent as brain training apps. A few of the research-validated and peer-reviewed batteries can be found at no or low cost:

    NIH Toolbox (must be a researcher)

    Brain Resource (Web Neuro)

    Mindprint Learning (Penn CNB)

    • I agree with your initial argument of garbage in, garbage out. However your links just look like free, less professional versions of Lumosity. They contain no research or evidence in and of themselves. I also have to point out that the first link is 1-not actually created by the NIH itself but by a bunch of institutes “associated” with the NIH, which could be any college that ever had a prof who got a grant from the NIH and 2-it’s clearly described as an assessment tool, not training. Assessment, as in testing. It won’t make you smarter just as taking the SAT over and over again won’t make you smarter, and isn’t meant to.

  30. you’re a total idiot
    mainly for writing a highly visible article that might discourage many people from trying something that could actually do them some good, who knows maybe even prevent or put off serious diseases like parkinson’s. thats kind of a serious matter dont you think?

    and honestly any responsible “writer” would try something before writing a piece calling something “bullshit” and saying that it flat out does not work. how the hell would you know? thats just irresponsible

    and if it was actually written in a funny or entertaining way, im sure no one would be upset by it because it would be obvious that it was a joke. but the tone and writing style is more like a bitter bitching winey jerk who complains about things they’ve never tried for lack of better things to do in life.

    and p.s. yes i’m one of the people that have tried it for about a year (THE FREE VERSION), and yes it improved my memory drastically. don’t need research or an article to tell me that my memory has improved, its just a fact.

    so to anyone out there looking to improve their memories and brain function, don’t listen to idiots like this. try lumosity or any other brain exercises for that matter (i’ve also tried Cerego and liked it. there are many additional options out there as well. good luck.

    • Your post sounds dangerously like an ad for Lumosity so I’m labeling you as suspect… Maybe your memory improved so much because you were just coasting through life beforehand and not thinking very critically about remembering things. And playing some Lumosity games helped you in that respect. But then you go ahead and blindly attribute everything to Lumosity which is mindless and sort of proves my point that you’re thinking very critically. For peeps like me who actively think about memorizing things and use rote memorization all the time, Lumosity did not do a thing to help improve my memory, and it’s most likely because I don’t have much room for improvement in that department. Simply being more mindful and trying to memorize things like your credit card number, other people’s phone numbers, and even events that happened during your day probably has the same (if not better) effect as taking those stupid Lumosity tests. The difference is that you’re doing it yourself and not being convinced that some shady company is helping you do something that you can do for yourself FOR FREE. That’s where the real scam is I think….

    • Yes those guys were deceptive in their advertising, very deceptive but I still find value in Lumosity. I started out playing the free version and then upgraded to the paid family membership, which was around $100 for an entire year. Not bad for a family membership. Now I play for free (at least for now) because of the lawsuit and I was on auto renew. They have expanded on their game repertoire and I can say it is worth its salt now. I had gotten bored with them for a while and backed off for several months. The language games (including reading comprehension, spelling and vocabulary) are worth it. Highway Hazards kicks ass! Trouble Brewing is also cool, even though frustrating, and I know I will never make a Starbuck’s barista! LOL

  31. Often brain training game has unreal in life tasks, so to true training try some that has logic puzzles like in IQ test. i.e.

  32. I was once a mental health expert who ran a much better brain training program. We taught our students to have as much sex as many ways with as many partners as possible. All the heat, sweat, and stimuli are much better at brain exercise than children’s games. Because of our success, that corporate scamming giant Luminosity complained calling me a whore. They sent vice out to shut us down. I got off however by brain training all of the police. So my advice is to brain train with your partner as much as possible and when that can’t happen to brain train yourself.

    • I don’t approve of Lumosity – but you really do sound like a scumbag that has probably damaged lives by pushing a sexual agenda.
      Very disgusting and degrading

    • loll i like your brain training program :)

  33. My 9 year old son is so worked up about this, he needed an outlet to express his opinion. We spent a lot of money on the Cogmed program and this is his message: ‘I think that Cogmed is rubbish and it doesn’t even help with your learning. Don’t even think about buying it’
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    • I was once a mental health expert who ran a much better brain training program. We taught our students to have as much sex as many ways with as many partners as possible. All the heat, sweat, and stimuli are much better at brain exercise than children’s games. Because of our success, that corporate scamming giant Luminosity complained calling me a whore. They sent vice out to shut us down. I got off however by brain training all of the police. So my advice is to brain train with your partner as much as possible and when that can’t happen to brain train yourself.

  34. Before you discredit this comment and graze over it, read the whole thing. I actually (partially) agree with you. But first, I have a small bone to pick with you…

    This is an excerpt from the first ‘peer reviewed study’ you posted from The Guardian (just slightly past the tiny negative paragraph you quoted):

    “So how do I fare when I return to measure my intelligence at the end of a month of weekly training with Lumosity? Fairly well, it turns out. I have improved in every single test apart from one (“Monkey Ladder”, where I need to remember an ever-increasing sequence of coloured tiles in order), in which I score exactly the same. In “Double Trouble” – the pesky red/blue words – I have soared from 33 points to 51, putting me in the top 6% of the population for reasoning.”

    She goes on to say that there may be other variables involved in her increased scores (like being comfortable at home etc.), but still…woops. Also, don’t call something like this article a ‘peer reviewed study.’ This is a news article.

    Sorry. Good research is a pet peeve of mine. Now, if you’d like to read a really AWESOME abstract from a study that supports your argument, here you go: The power of play: The effects of Portal 2 and Lumosity on cognitive and noncognitive skills

    Abstract: In this study, we tested 77 undergraduates who were randomly assigned to play either a popular video game (Portal 2) or a popular brain training game (Lumosity) for 8 h. Before and after gameplay, participants completed a set of online tests related to problem solving, spatial skill, and persistence. Results revealed that participants who were assigned to play Portal 2 showed a statistically significant advantage over Lumosity on each of the three composite measures—problem solving, spatial skill, and persistence. Portal 2 players also showed significant increases from pretest to posttest on specific small- and large-scale spatial tests while those in the Lumosity condition did not show any pretest to posttest differences on any measure. Results are discussed in terms of the positive impact video games can have on cognitive and noncognitive skills.

    • Never forget…the cake is a lie.

  35. What a load of rubbish this article is. Don’t belittle people like that Zekke Iddiot.

  36. Lumosity is a dead end. It reached its peak around 2012 and hasn’t procured any new funding in almost 4 years. The fact that they managed to get $67.4 million dollars in funding from investors is baffling. The fact that they actually have a Chief Scientific Officer as a corporate position says to me that this is a fantastically orchestrated farce.

    • Id like to add that there is a phrase going around lately that describes this new trend of brain training, it called “edutainment”.

  37. This web page is a okay with me but…i disagree with this particular post …a lot. He starts with i’m look at you Lumosity but he goes straight into nintendo? Plus a ton of the games on Lumosity involve math and memory tests next to the games that put you under pressure to understand the pace at which your brain can work. This is honestly one of the more silly posts, its redundant and considers no scientific proof. They proved that yes learning stuff in your sleep would work theoretically but it has been proven that it doesn’t…so why did you mention this? I could go on but yo can keep up your work i’m not judging just stating facts and…my opinion?

  38. Yup, I still have Alzheimer’s.

  39. You would be afraid to be stuck on a date with Emily? Are you gay? She is sexy as hell!

    • She is pretty fit, but the ‘mentally unhinged’ thing is a slight turn-off!

  40. Was using a trial version of lUmosity. Happy to not ever pay for it…
    lynettx recently posted..Cardio Equipment For Home – Stamina In-Motion Elliptical TrainerMy Profile

  41. Please evaluate my comments below as being anecdotal and not backed up by any rigorous testing, in May of 2014 I had a 6 cm meningioma removed from my right frontal lobe. The right frontal lobe is called the executive center of the brain and controls a person’s higher skills. By profession I am an engineer so not having my right frontal,lobe up to speed has a real impact on my ability to do my job. After surgery I had some cognitive therapy and reached a point where the therapist had done all she could for me. I asked her about Lumosity and see stated she just didn’t know it was worth anything.

    After some thought about it and deciding it wouldn’t hurt I have gave it a shot. I have been using it for about 9 months now. The readers’ digest version is I believe and think it has been a benefit to me and has helped me to recover faster. I believe that just like trying to build muscles you have to exercise and stimulate your brain. I don ‘t have an opinion if Limosity will help a person that doesn’t have a neurological prob to improve memory etc… But if you are trying to rehabilitate your brain for some condition it can’t hurt.

    • My feelings exactly. There are way too many cases like yours.

  42. It’s hard to find well-informed people on this topic, but you seem
    like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks
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  43. Forgive my error. I’ve called it Luminosity when should have used Lumosity.

  44. Thank you for summarizing the feedback because I really couldn’t be arsed to go through them. I know that is rude. Please forgive, I’m an old dear and life is too short. It took me enough of my time to read your blog! Which I found entertaining and insightful!

    I found myself reading your blog with much curiosity as a former Lumo loonie, having asked the googasphere if the said site was a con? This blog post got top billing, so I thought I’d give it a gander.

    Why would I ask the google master this question? Well I’ll tell you. I recently thought about signing up again with an idea of keeping my mind sharp given my age and desire keep mentally sharp. I had ditched Luminosity because I started in the 99% percentile and ended two years later, in what?, well you’ve guest it, in the 99% percentile. Woopi do, my brain is fitter than most of the peeps in the world, of any age. So why am I still poor and not earning a 6 figure salary? And, for that Chrome plugin brain game that I started playing about the same, I still getting more or less the same score, even after 2yrs playing Luminosity.

    I played some of the games so often, I was a Lumo ninja so to speak but I have to say with some of the games, there’s a knack and technique to achieving high scores, and some luck.

    So I recently returned and entered bogus details just for the hell of it and because I was too tight to sign up. Anyhoo, low and behold after playing relatively few games, I’ve not only exceeded one of my former APIs, I’m almost close to exceeding at least one of the others. Not the speed one either, which I won’t brag about, given your views, it’d be pointless. Realising now some self delusion was occurring.

    So I ask myself, can this be true? I remember having much higher scores per game and much lower APIs, whereas now I have exceeded at least one of my APIs having gained much lower scores?

    If you have a long life and have read all the comments and got through reading this one, can I suggest you draw you own conclusions. If you want to spend money playing some fun brain games, do it, but if you really want to exercise your whole brain, then you really need to learn an actual subject, a language, a real physical game. Those are my conclusions, based upon experience, as a former Lumo Loonie.

  45. Thanks that I wasn’t the only one calling it “Luminosity”. I had been playing brain games for months because of the study that improves mental health. Indeed, I feel so brilliant but it didn’t last for some reasons. So, I guess it is good for short period of time. So, I’ll stick with supplementation or drinking wine due to its polyphenol for mental sharpness.

  46. Lumosity games do make you better at the games you play the more you play them. But what use do you have making your brain create more neurons for making you better at playing lumosity games? I don’t see any real world application for any of those “brain games”.

    Maybe the math games can help someone practice arithmetic, but lumosity does not teach you math, they only generate tasks. Hardly worth paying for.

  47. I have been a subscriber to Lumosity for 2 years. I can tell you, without a doubt, that my memory has improved greatly. I am 63. When all around me are losing their mental capablilities, mine are sharper. I am a believer.

    • Sorry, old woman. When you type sentences like,

      “When all around me are losing their mental capablilities, mine are sharper”

      I just really can’t be a believer.

    • @Jonah –
      Well, she could very well be completely correct; consider the competition.
      Just imagine what all the other old ladies in the home might sound like if they posted comments to this thread…

  48. inspite these games are more fun than Lumosity….and offcourse I think that there are positives in the games they provides us, this actually helps to exercise our brain. where it really matters.

  49. When you are a genius like myself why would one want to undergo Luminosity Crap. Maybe a few of us including yourself teach these Luminosity money grubbing cretins a thing or two.

    Cheers Ian

  50. There are awesome free brain training options out there. Just use Brainidol or MindGamer instead. was also developed by PhD’s and the games are more fun than Lumosity IMHO.

  51. Every one here is wrong, YAH DUHH it’s a scam! BUT, it is still a fun little program. Also, there are more training exercises OTHER than making you smarter. personally I use this for memory problems because I have had 3 concussions in my life and on top of that A.D.D. So I use this for attention and memory. I know I have a good IQ for my age so I don’t use the other aspects. I’m not saying that this site is not a bunch of bull crap or a scam, OBVIOUSLY it IS but that does not mean that you bash the whole thing. Though it also means don’t put too much faith in one thing because work is always a key in success. so I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t be a salty downer but also don’t be a lazy bum and think this ALONE will improve your IQ or will get you into any collage.

    • Collage or College? I am sure you are currently in one of your tween friend’s pinstagram collages.

  52. You lost me when you mentioned creationists. As if your heathen tard mind would actually know any better. Have a nice day, monkeybrain.

    • Oh great, now the creationists are arriving. This comment thread is getting better by the day.

  53. Hilarious article. I was just so sick of watching that damn commercial on Hulu over and over so I googled ‘Luminosity is bullshit’ to see whet was up and it linked to your article. Why does Hulu have the little thing where it says Does this interest you and no mater how many times i click No I still get the same stupid commercials? Does not seem like good customer research. Ah well.

  54. I seriously do not understand why anyone would waste their time and money on a supposed “brain-training game” when there are tons of free and fun ways of making yourself healthy and knowledgeable. Getting physical exercise, meditating, and reading literature are free and enjoyable activities that actually will give you results. “Luminosity” preys on the stupid :(

    • Of course they do.
      There are WAY more stupid people than smart ones.
      They’re stupid!
      Hence, [much] easier to scam.
      (See: Barnum, PT (attributed) and Mencken, HL)
      So which demographic would appear more profitable to target?
      Has “Luminosity” gone public yet?
      Seems like a promising investment.

  55. What’s up mates, how is the whole thing, and what you desire to
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  56. Indeed, one gets better at playing Lumosity games. So what? Some are funnish but there are more interesting games, especially those we make up for ourselves.
    k9esque recently posted..Is Console Gaming Dead?My Profile

  57. Of course Brain Training works. Anytime you feel challenged, you are improving your mental health. Whether through a game or in the real world, this is true.

    This piece is very pretentious. It states various things that are wrong and is overall just silly. It being an entertainment piece isn’t an excuse. There’s no reason to take it seriously. You can just interpret the facepalm pictures as ironic feedback.

    • You obviously didn’t read any of the research noted.

  58. Just using your senses improves brain activity, These games they make you pay for are BS.
    You get good at the games and that is about it. Same as if you studied math or something else, You get good at that subject but that is it.
    Also the author of this article has fallen for another con, If you think fish oil improves brain you are misled by corporations. You are probably doing more harm from all the Mercury and other chemicals now in the fish!
    Doing one thing won’t improve brain, doesn’t matter if it’s a game or some pill you pop, Want to get smart you need to feed your brain new things constantly so it has to adapt, no different than tryin to make your muscles stronger, doing the same exercise year after year will only make you reach a plateau and growth will stop.
    Here I am uneducated and I can see past all the BS out there, Makes me question these so called experts/scientists.

    • i have no idea if these games work. i have been a free user of lumosity for about 2 years, which means i only get to play 3 games per day (although i can replay them as many times as i like, as long as i click “play again”). last month i created a new user id, with a different email address, to see what would happen (plus there is one game with the trains which i really like at the moment). my score on my new id is ridiculously higher in most of the categories lumosity likes to measure. for no reason, because i’ve checked my highest scores on both ids for same games, and there’s not a lot of difference. in fact, on some games, where you have to pass through levels to get higher scores, i have lower scores on my new id, so it makes no sense that it is so much higher. so it’s all a huge con. but i really do like that stupid train game.

    • Yes! The train game! I’ve been looking around to find anything even remotely similar. I obviously can’t justify making monthly payments JUST for that game, but I’m addicted.

  59. Neurologists use exercises like these for rehabilitation and training. The question is whether the ones in Lumosity work, but that’s something neither the scientist you refer (who is a mathematician and evolutionary biologist, not a neuroscientist) or you (who are a random dude on the internet) would know.

  60. I’ll click on the science links later, but I do enjoy the games. If you do it regularly you can track progress which may be appropos of nothing, but it literally takes me only 10-15 minutes each morning after breakfast and I will probably start practicing about 30 minutes on the weekend in my weaker areas and areas that have flattened out.

    I’ve also just started doing Sudoku and re-reading Shakespeare’s less famous plays, so if I do turn into a rocket surgeon over the next 6 months, I won’t really know what to attribute it to.

    Plus, what’s wrong with Emily? I’d hit it. ::sarcasm::

  61. This type of training has been proven to work and has been used by Norman Doidge for years in rehabilitating patients. Though it’s not exactly the same as Lumosity the concept is the same. Check out his book ‘The brain that changes itself’

  62. One thing I have observed with few exceptions is that people get upset( anger and other assorted emotions) when they find out that something they bought(idea or product) is either a scam or its claim is on dubious grounds. The strangest part though is who they get angry at, because most of the time it is the person telling them they have been scammed!

    Now I bought a years subscription to Luminosity myself and I have to agree with all the nay sayers. There is very little research done into brain training and the little there is contains nothing but preliminary studies. With all the money Luminosity brings in you would think they could at least fund some large studies instead of a few studies with only 20 something college students as test subjects.

    • You’re not wrong. I have to say that I really didn’t expect the amount of vitriol I got for pissing on everyone’s chips. I fully understand the anger and need to direct it somewhere, but it’s the denialism and outright butthurt that surprised me.

    • @Zeke Iddon, another charming comment. I’m not sure you fully understand, you did write a rather inflammatory and one-sided article, did you not?! And used quite a strong stance and a plethora of contradictory arguments that don’t quite make sense altogether. You top it all up by dropping comments alienating those who disagree. Understandably, you’ll find plenty of folk who don’t quite agree with you and your methods. You have to learn to accept others’ opinions and not label them denialism or *please_insert_derogatory_hipster_word_here*. Deal with it or change/remove the article.

      @Matthew, do a bit more research on their funding please.

    • @Zeke –
      Surprised that you were surprised.
      I’d have thought if you pay any attention whatsoever to US politics, the vitriol would not only have been unsurprising, but recognizable as inevitable.
      Remember, the average IQ is, pretty much by definition, 100.
      So for every one of you, there’s someone else out there with an IQ of 80 or less…
      And most of them vote Publican.

  63. Whoa, this blog is fucking retarded. There is a difference between knowledge and intelligence. Learning another language is something that you can only do by learning. Intelligence are all the other stuff that you don’t just learn, which is what good scientist do. They don’t learn old things from other people, they learn new things from themselves. Using information that is already available to come up with something new, knowledge is basically memorisation. The kind of shiti you learn at school, pretty useless. Intelligence is looking at 2 computers and saying “hey, wouldn’t it be cool if these could talk to each other” (the creation of the internet) someone who is knowledgable but isn’t intelligent might say something like: “everything in the world has already been invented”. These games do help your brain, they don’t teach you ‘knowledge’ (what your dumbass blog is trying to say) or ‘how to speak french’ (which is also ‘knowledge’) instead it helps your brain solve problems faster, split your attention evenly, faster memory recall, useful things that actually help THE BRAIN.

    • One can only hope that a person mentioning “intelligence” so many times in his comment would bother checking his grammar.

  64. Realize there is a difference between: intelligence, memory, and education. Then rewrite your article. I could make several quotes where you continuously confuse intelligence and memory. They’re not the same thing.

    Being ‘smart’ is usually defined by the effect all three have on eachother. Training your memory will increase how smart you are, this has been so scrutinized and evidenced it is irrefutable (though this mostly happens at the developing stages of life. It has diminishing returns later).

    And you can train your memory. You can also weaken it. It will affect your ability to learn (“education”) and will affect your problem solving skills (“intelligence”). Hence they co-relate and have an affect on eachother, hence: smart.

    Oh, I’m not saying whether or not Lumosity works. I don’t really care. It’s not the point I’m debating. But the foundation of you argument was vividly misguided.

    And, I’m really not sure why you brought in that sleeping to learn French example. That’s quite weak. Since, y’know, you’re not sleeping when using Lumosity. Well, you shouldn’t be.

    Final note: yes, one of your points was right. Lumosity is good at marketing. I, uh.. don’t know why that’s a bad thing. They’re a business, after all.

    • Also, do keep in mind if you use these exercises, that they are only a fraction of your intelligence. Since Lumosity compares it to the gym, let’s compare it to that as well.

      In the gym, you could divide your physical fitness to three distinct categories: endurance training, strength training, and nutrition. Endurance training will let you train harder and longer. Strength training is the measure of your wellness, especially when you compare it relatively to your starting point. Nutrition is vital to continue to progress your physical wellness, and more importantly, maintain it.

      How you would relate intellect, memory and education to this is up to you. I would make the analogy that memory is endurance training, and nutrition is education. You feed yourself information similar to feeding yourself nutrition, and you train your memory, so that like you can continuously go farther in strength training, you can train your intellect.

      There are genetic advantages to how clever you are, just like to how athletic you are, but we are far more flexible than the common thought may suggest.

      Thus, if you use a tool like Lumosity, do not expect a Mensa invitation, or a higher IQ, or to be any more clever than you were if you choose only to train one aspect of your mind. You’ll have a better memory. That is it. Educate yourself, self-reflect, and maintain your memory.

  65. Thanks. This made my morning…nearly spit out my espresso from laughing… I am now firmly convinced upon reading a few comments that Earth has been not only invaded, but taken over by Morons from Outer Space”.

  66. I can’t respect you opinion when you use language such as “crock of crap” etc. I don’t care if you’re right or wrong. This is just a diatribe from someone who values their own opinion too much and has too much free time. You should cut back on the exclamation marks as well. It reads as if you’ve been writing whilst completely coked out.

    • I can’t respect the opinion of someone who uses such language as ‘completely coked out’ or ‘respect you opinion’. This is no different than ‘crock of crap’, you pompous mule!!!!!

  67. Nah man… since i been doing these lumonicity games i’v gottin more smarter and more learnt overal, my old teacher said that i smart but with this games i can be more smarter.

    • More smarter. Yeah, we can totally tell. Their commercials employ ‘testimony’ from the ditziest bimbos (even the dudes) in all the U.S. If you can’t spot that then you’re probably one of them. It’s easy to make a moron feel smart.

    • @Grud –
      I could be wrong (I often am)…
      But I kinda think Jwon Gibble might have been engaging in sarcasm.

  68. I sent this to Lumosity:
    Despite any desire to check out your service, and it does look like something really cool, I’m afraid of your business. I finally found I could have a free account and later pay for a subscription if I want to upgrade. The fact I cannot see any forthcoming pricing scares me, it’s a red flag these days. The impression that I’m left with is that you are hiding something and trying to take advantage of the public. One must ask themselves, “Would I order at a restaurant that has no prices on the menu?”

    They Replied with this!


    In order to process customer questions in a quick and secure manner, we can only accept inquiries submitted through our Help Center:

    To receive a response from us, please resubmit your question via the Help Center link above. (Click the link, then click “Submit a Request.”)

    Thank you!
    The Lumosity Team

    Which I answered back to:

    Very funny!
    I cannot submit my concerns unless I use the method you indicate, which forces me to open an account. I’m worried about even opening an account with you and you will not address my concerns unless I open an account. Now I am more curious about your obvious deception than ever. It’s not like it’s hard to find out what I want to know by looking elsewhere on the internet, but I wanted so give you the chance to, at least, look like a reputable business. And did I ever find more about you! It’s no fluke that any web based business that acts like you fall into the same spittoon!

    There was another round of email after this, but it was just going sideways with no real answers. It was like nobody reads what people write, and only know how to rip off the public that they assume are all stupid.

    • I can understand your reticence in this age of spam, but if you’re willing to give up your email, you actually get an unlimited (duration) account using your email as a login. They still will give you comparison rankings and quite a few different function training games that are fun. If you actually stick with it for a month or two it becomes obvious that this is an effective tool . . . Not the only way, but still . . . To sharpen your brain. The only difference with the free account is that you don’t get access to all the games offered. I had a free account for over 2 years. You might want to consider trying it. It’s pretty fun.

    • Oh and my one snarky comment to follow the theme throughout these threads would be:

      If you’re complaining about the marketing and you’ve heard the ads to annoyance and are STILL calling it LuMINosity instead of Lumosity, please get some memory training . . . ANY memory training.

  69. The guys at lumosity have PhD’s too for goodness sake. They are scientists, talking about science! I love your suggestions how to improve brain power! I can really tell they’re based on really really hard science. Good work.

    • Which guys? Those in their commercials?

  70. My sister put me on her Lumoisty subscription and for a while I did the training nearly every day. I noticed my scores improved, but I still would forget where I left my keys. I became especially adept at game called Train of Thought where you put ever increasing numbers of little trains into their color coded houses.

    It’s supposed to improve divided attention, but even with perfect scores at the highest level, I still can’t do two things at once, like keep an eye on the dog while I’m netting the pool.

    The skills acquired from these games are non-transferable. I lost interest in all the other games as I didn’t see any point in keeping track of pretend fish or doing simple math problems in rain drops. But I like playing trains. It’s fun and it relaxes me.

  71. Just to defend a game that may seem similar, I don’t know why… maybe because people might get the wrong idea and thing all of these games are shit. So, I’m defending a ds game, Flash Focus. It’s cheap as hell, and it doesn’t say it’ll prove your intelligence, although I think the games they offer on this training game might actually do a better job. It’s been a long time since I’ve played it, so it’s hard to remember. But, the eye exercises(or games) seem to help you think and grow in more ways than Lumosity games, There are many different stages of learning when playing each game, and I remember that. And Really, JUST THAT makes the game kind of worth playing, even if only for a couple months. I think you can probably get one for $5, maybe less at you local game store. There. That’s it.

    • Oops. *think

  72. I ran my own experiment and trust me when I say I know how to do science! I had a few friends use luminosity and their memory spans increased by almost 2 fold! IT REALLY DID WORK. Unfortunately, due to the increase in memory span, their brains had to expand to accommodate, resulting in cerebral edema, so they’re all dead now.

    FACT: 3 out of every 2 people can become smarter with luminosity.

    • lol, thanks John! Ladies and gentlemen, that’s how to SCIENCE

    • I’d like to bash on you here, but Zeke made my point for me. Trust me, I’m from Mars.

    • Ah. Satire. I see. Just woke up. Derp.

  73. An element of truth could be said for both extremes. My opinion is that, it is true, there is really no short-cut way of obtaining “intelligence” via some cute games. Yes, more than likely, the website is attempting to sell to those who think such. In the deepest part of your soul, though, you understand that you must work for whatever you want. If you want to “become smarter” then you can, but it will take time, and effort (I have quotes here because I’m appalled by the concept of ranking oneself in terms of intelligence because I believe intelligence is a matter of perspective and that one can be intelligent or smart based on their life experiences, not just text book knowledge).
    But there are a lot of flaws in the belief that these games DON’T help you at all. I would equate it to calling jigsaw puzzles, cross word puzzles, or any other puzzle game you could think of, a waste of time and effort… (Science has shown, by the way, that these puzzle games are indeed effective. , both reference the same study that shows that puzzle based memory games improve memory, problem solving skills, and overall cognition in children.) Luminosity is, essentially, a big collection of games that exercise 1) Memory, 2) Cognition, 3) Processing… etc. Much like how there are puzzles that focus on the same elements.

    So regardless of whether or not Luminosity “research” is really flawed, you talk about ‘empirical evidence,’ and you can find a plethora of such across scholarly articles that show puzzle games are effective brain training tools.

    My advice, is people so choose to even bother reading anything of this: Try out any puzzle game to your liking, because they’re all healthy for you. Don’t expect to become a genius off of just puzzles, though. My advice in that region is to stop thinking about genius… It’s not about becoming intelligent, or smart, or the person who knows everything… It’s about genuine interest in everything around us. Curiosity. And if you don’t have such, I feel it’s okay. Intelligence is found in all realms of life.


  74. All this shouting about Lumosity will only make it more popular. The stronger the slander the more free advertising they get. Whoever wrote all that stuff is seriously underrated.

    • It is utterly irresponsible to market a product to the foolish and gullible. I understand that it’s been going on for ages, but it’s still irresponsible. Speaking broadly, technology is overtaking intelligence by leaps and bounds. This is not a good portent for the future of humanity. To become a more intelligent species we must be willing to assist each other in that regard pro bono. The existence of money-grabbing rabbit holes like Lumosity only hinder the chances of real intelligence being taken seriously. Teaching is a skill. Not a task and certainly not a program.

      “I have successfully taught 20 students who went on to become prominent scientists.”

      “Oh yeah? Well I have a Lumosity BPI of blah!”

      Which statement suggests intelligence? (Hint: If you have to guess you’ve failed the test)

  75. Lumosity is just like a nutritional supplement or the latest miracle weight loss cure as seen on Dr. Oz. Any benefit derived is placebo.

  76. Recently I asked a young punk about lumosity. Does it work?? Oh yeah, he answered confidently – it is based on the science of neuroplasticity. Well what is that exactly, I persisted – I do not recall this being taught in school. So he banged on about creating new links between brain synapses and one thing and another but I remained sceptical. Having now read your piece I intend to continue doing crossword puzzles, reading books and indulging my decades long fascination with the work of David Attenborough. Thank you so much for debunking this festered pile of bullshit

    • “Having now read your piece I intend to continue doing crossword puzzles, reading books and indulging my decades long fascination with the work of David Attenborough. Thank you so much for debunking this festered pile of bullshit ”
      yyyeah none of those have been scientifically proven (or even, well, scientifically suggested)to improve cognition either,its just more of the same self- congratulatory intellectual wanking… ya know, like lumosity!

  77. Lumosity is a business. They need to move product to keep the lights on. They’ve found this neuroplasticity concept to be an effective marketing pitch to convince folks to part with their money. But that’s all it is. Playing video games might be able to improve one’s focus or concentration because of neuroplasticity, but the benefit beyond that particular video game is dubious at best. Especially in comparison to, oh, READING, or better yet, WRITING, or still better, DEBATING. And don’t forget the cranial benefit of AEROBIC EXERCISE – increase the oxygen flow to your brain and it works better! That’s why I didn’t find out I had hydrocephalus (water on the brain) until almost 20 years after the bike crash that probably caused it. Keep your money and instead do a crossword puzzle or read a challenging book.

  78. i’ve no idea wtf ur talking bout
    i used lumosity and i finally realised fish weren’t real

    • /\ Brain training games, ladies and gentlemen.

    • lol, its a joke zeke

    • I wouldn’t be so sure of that. Have you ever seen the ridiculous shorthand “utilized” by habitual texters when they make an attempt at communication? It’s vomit-inducing.

      Granted tammy’s fish comment seems deliberately absurd, but it’s dangerous to assume she’s not serious after two unpunctuated, grammatically awful sentences. What if she is?

  79. I find this insulting. Brain training games are not bullshit and I’m not referring to lumosity in particular! I guess the author needs to grow up, see his family age, have strokes, dementia, etc (as we all do) and then I’d like to know his opinion on brain training and neural plasticity and whatnot! I can tell you from personal experience neurorehabilitation works and several exercises are similar to those in lumosity. I have played lumosity and they don’t claim that you can gain intelligence. They say the games are to challenge your brain and they do just that!!!

    • “I find this insulting.”

      Really? You felt personally insulted by an article some guy on the internet wrote? In which case, you might want to avoid the internet altogether, especially given that how offended you are has no bearing on anything or anyone.

      “I can tell you from personal experience neurorehabilitation works…”

      Your attention span must not have gotten you as far as the part in the article where I explained how little I care about personal testimony. I care about proper testing; we all know someone who knows from ‘personal experiences that crystal healing works!’. It doesn’t.

      Getting tired of explaining to people over and over that I don’t care how good THEY think Lumosity is.

    • Really? Because in the rehabilitation unit I visited over 2 years most patients were given brain games, certainly not as advanced as the ones you find in lumosity (not saying lumostiy is better!). They also suggested as a take home package: crosswords, sudoku, memory games among others. Lumosity (was not suggested!) but followed naturally…

      But please forget about lumosity for a while.

      As I said before Zeke, you need to grow older and face the music to realise why it might be insulting – you seem to lack empathy to understand it now. When you see your loved ones in rehab trying to recover (or completely depressed giving up!), you will listen to the doctors, SLTs, physios, and you will realise that the success rates of neurorehab are extremely volatile. You will see what works for most doesn’t work for your loved ones. I am not saying brain training works for all, but I can guarantee that it will work for some. Because there is no cure and most doctors will tell you mankind doesn’t know enough about the brain, you will try all options before giving up. You’ll be excited about scientific findings that tell you the brain can actually repair itself… in some cases! Or that music can help (some) to regain memory! And you hope that it works for your loves ones. You will see that one paraplegic patient walking after they’ve done nothing special to him. And you see others never standing up after years of rehab. You look at the doctors and their clueless faces. And you wonder. We don’t know how the brain works. Really. And you won’t be so quick to dismiss any (sensible) options as potential cures. Brain training (not saying lumosity) will certainly be one of them.

      As for you not caring about personal testimony, you cared enough to reply, so thank you – again, this is something that should change as you grow older and more empathic. I am also not sure why you need to explain to people, over and over, that you don’t care about whether they think lumosity works. I am sure they don’t care either.

    • “I find this insulting”

      So what? Who cares what you find insulting you thin-skinned lilly-livered wee-knob!

      Neurorehabilitation works? No kidding? Kinda like practicing a language makes you better at speaking it eh?

      If your brain is challenged by the nonsense on that site then your brain is just lazy.

      All they do is trick you into feeling good about the time you’ve just wasted.

      It’s called a gimmick, and it’s a tool-of-the-trade for every carny crystal ball con-man that’s ever existed.

    • @Grub – Clearly you didn’t get past the first sentence, but that’s OK, you have other comments to attend to. Thanks for caring enough to reply to my comment though, much appreciated. Tempus fugit my friend, as you will soon find out.

  80. How long, do you think, it takes to train your brain to learn & apply the news info on your current day-to-day basis? It’s not like a 3 year-old child, the older you are the longer it takes. The site doesn’t pretend to make you more intelligent.. It’s just helping you to stimulate it
    The brain is an organ in constant evolution, you need to use it as much as possible if you want to improve it. It’s like a weight-loss program, if your weight is around 300lb, don’t expect to lose all your extra in 3 months.. but if you need to lose only 20lb it might work.

    I’m playing that Luminosity game four 1 1/2 year, around 6 days per week.. and all for FREE. There’s majors improvements to my memory, attention and etc..

    You seem to me, to be just a poor douche bag who prefer to blame the internet for his stupidity & gives crap to people who did better than him in his life because he’s just too lazy to help himself.
    Wake up moron, you don’t even know the difference between a Physical book and a study done on a taxi driver’s! but if you are afraid of words like “neuroplasticity” and “cognitive” I guess that I can understand why.

    But it’s ok to be like you..

    • Textwall of pseudo-factual jabber? Check.

      Absurd passive-aggressive character attacks? Check.

      Weak whinging about the demonstrated critical-thinking capacities of others? Check.

      You, sir, are a shill. And I’d wager an unpaid one at that. Congratulations on being their target demographic. Don’t you feel special?

  81. Thank you sir.

  82. Is that You in the pictures? Why are You trying so hard to look like Johnny Depp? The glasses, the hair, the hand-leather-whatever-you-call-it, the hat, the mustache. WTF?

    • PRO TIP: If you want to criticise someone and/or make them feel bad about themselves, point out how you think they look like People magazine’s twice-voted Sexiest Man on the Planet. #FEELTHEBURN

    • Do you honestly believe that Depp was the first person ever to look like that? For the sake of humanity I hope the answer is no.

      It’s my sincere hope that, like most loud obnoxious dummies, you lacked the capacity to add anything constructive and so picked out the most superficial thing you could find to “attack”. That I could at least make sense of, even though it lacks any relevance or value.

      If you thought this through though… well… then it’s your own fault you look like a fool.

  83. Well then, this is certainly an interesting and entertaining article, but the real gold is in the comments. Those valiantly defending Lumosity, those scorning it, and the occasional troll.

    In my personal opinion, as I have been playing [Free] Lumosity games 4-5 days a week for around a month, and while I most certainly agree that it does not increase intelligence, I have noticed improvements in other aspects of my mind. I often have had trouble fluidly speaking my mind, quickly recalling facts or memories, forgot names and important tasks, etc., and through the course of this month I have gradually felt and noticed an improvement. I can reach through my vocabulary, count change quicker and respond slightly quicker. It’s nothing to necessarily be amazed and wow’d at, but over time I hope it to be worth the time I put in.

    I have always suffered from a poor memory, from a young child to the age I am now(21), and lack a decent attention span. If this continues to work for me, I will continue to use it.

    Not to say I think it’s worth the money, but the free “training”, so to speak, can be good for those who need it. While it definitely should not be advertised as “improving intelligence”, it improves memory, reaction time, and ability to reach through ones’ vocabulary.

    So, in conclusion, no it is in no way shape or form a miracle set of games to make you smarter, it may only improve ones’ cognitive ability. And I have read quite a few articles at this point, though few have yielded what I’m interested in(tests not just measuring intelligence, but more basic abilities as I described).

    Regardless of what is said, as I have said to my friends and family, through speech and thoughts, I feel more clarity.

  84. I love this site. I assume this is the site of a sports enthusiast. I love sports since college, particular rugby but I am truly in love with darts. Do you play darts? If so please visit me

  85. It works! It works!!! Lol, fkn losers! Some of the Luminati comments are hilarious “i can read faster now” lmfao

    • BTW you can find most of their games as free games on any android phone…have fun for free!

    • I swear to all that ever was foolishly called holy, writing is on its way to becoming a forgotten art… like forging Damascus steel (though I believe someone did eventually figure that one out, so maybe there’s still hope).

  86. Thank god this blog exists! Thank you. Most of these people are moronic fucking sheep. They think they need brain training because they’re unable to improve naturally or were born with limited intelligence.

    In other words, low value plebs value this SHIT as gold. It’s ok though, let the low level scum put money into this. It’ll eventually re-circulate back into the pockets of functioning humans that have value.

    • bahhh. Play games that mean nothing but fun for free if you have half a brain to look for them first.

    • Finally we hear from Niglet, the Socrates of our times. Oh please, dear Niglet, shower upon us your wisdom, your insight, your calm, collected rationality. We are but wallowing specks of dust before the pinnacle of your intellect!

    • I like some of the gist of what you’re saying, but your racist undertones are showing.

      The ‘functioning humans’ you refer to would in this instance be the people running Lumosity. The money recirculates to them.

      Functioning while morally bankrupt enables the long-con of deliberately engineered social decay. A treasonous offense in Arthurian times.

  87. I’ve been playing Lumosity for about six months. I have a distant but fairly solid background in experimental psychology. There is certainly a practice effect that has a profound positive impact on scores. There are also methods used that sometimes encourage people more than is warrented. It is a business after all, and they don’t want to run off their customers.
    All that being said, I feel that Lumosity is beneficial for me. You can call me any sort of names you like, because I frankly don’t give a rip what you think. I do know that though it may not increase my intelligence per se, the games train me to be more observant and a better listener. For example I remember people names more often since I played a lumosity game where you serve people and take their food orders, remembering their names and what they ordered. It simply trains me to pay attention to such things, and I’ve become much better at it in real life.

    • ohh I wanna pay for games that they take from other people too! I know I can get them for free completely legit but if I pay it makes me feel like a snow flake!

      BTW Bachelors in psych so I know this must work……for some fun!

    • @Whydoyoucare “ohh I wanna pay for games that they take from other people too! I know I can get them for free completely legit but if I pay it makes me feel like a snow flake! BTW Bachelors in psych so I know this must work……for some fun!”
      so…are you for or against lumosity? are you trying to recommend we all just use the free version? it seems to differ depending on which comment you respond to… is your point that you’re great and everyone else sucks? if so i commend you for at least sticking with that claim, regardless of how little evidence you have to support it (also… for someone whos insulting someone else for having a bachelors degree in psychology, you seem to be extremely uneducated… i mean, if you had a PhD in neuroscience i could understand the dig, but it kinda seems like you barely completed the 8th grade

  88. I stopped reading at “…in perpetuity for a while now”.

    • Congrats you made it further then most people with half a brain

  89. I’m fascinated by marketing tactics and ploys (we all fall for them in one way or another, be it for Lumosity or Apple or Whole Foods or…). This one actually almost got me (occasionally it still happens), until I did some research and came upon many articles like yours. Well done.
    Noah recently posted..Stereo Lif is Grammy-nominated! Frankie J nominated for Best Latin Pop Album Grammy (I co-produced & mixed 3 tracks on it).My Profile

    • Not all of us. The snag is that these days one must find contentment with somewhat spartan living in order to avoid the games people play. Frack puns. (Or is it frak? I admit I never got into Battlestar.)

  90. I have to hand it to you. I laughed so hard reading your article that tears came out and I broke out a sweat! :) You have a talent for comedy! Now that being said,

    I don’t believe your position for two very basic conclusions which don’t need any recent studies to be attained.

    2. There is a very valid biologic law (from Jean Lamarck) which is: use it or lose it. This one is easier to verify. lie on a bed for a month and see how your leg muscles work after that (or look at a paraplegic’s leg); watch TV 24 hours a day and see how your brain turns into a non-responsive pulp; don’t use your tail, and see it disappear (our vestigial tails)

    1. Also, biologically speaking, the way our bodies (including our brain, which is also physical and not transcendental) have evolved, biologically speaking, is through exterior stimulus and adaptation. Jean Lamarck is being proven right in recent scientific studies. The generation of variety in populations is not random or blind. We didn’t grow arms or wings by “accident”. We grow whatever serves our necessities according to exterior stimulus. In other words, we want to do something, we try to do that something and, we get better at it. Of course that, for our bodies to do things such as grow new members, the process is not that straightforward and it may take millions of years. BUT, when it comes to improve the efficiency of what our body already has, our body has the power to adapt to great extent during your lifespan. Eg. A fisherman in the Phillipines used to dive and fish since childhood, has an almost “super-human” capacity to hold his breath even when his CO2 levels are extremely high; A man in North America who has gotten used to try to bend things since childhood, now has an also super-human strength and can bend stuff such as a cooking pan with his bare hands; several people, who have trained their memories to extremes, now have almost an almost “super-human” capacity to remember things. Even a friend of mine, who was no sharper than me, has gotten way more efficient than me at mental processes than me because he chose engineering as a career. And this is where you say “But engineering is very difficult while lumosity’s exercises are easy”. But you’d be wrong, because I’ve tried lumosity’s exercises myself and they are only easy at the 1st levels. They will then get harder, and harder, and harder, until they’re extremely difficult up to the point where they actually become impossible. Of course that, as you practice them, the former “impossible” then becomes “possible” and may even become “easy”. You don’t believe me? Do it yourself and see. It’s clear from your article that you haven’t give it a decent try yourself, because it would be impossible not to notice clear improvements (at least in memory). How do we get better at things? What is the meaning of the word train? Be it at a physical or mental level? It’s not just finding easier ways to do the same thing while retaining the same capacity. Our capacity also improves. I don’t work for Lumosity or have been paid by them. I wish I was being paid by them. That way I would be able to afford a subscription, which I would gladly accept ;)

    • I couldn’t agree more. You can have a study done for just about anything these days, the fact is no two people are exactly the same and results will inevitably be skewed. Try things for yourself and don’t believe everything on the web.

    • Anonymous, you understand nothing of Lamarck or evolution for that matter. We don’t lose a tail because we don’t use it. We don’t grow anything based on any stimulus. Changes ARE random, and only the ones that serve a given species – “serve” in this context specifically means it increases an organism’s ability to reproduce – are the ones that continue on. The organisms who do not change, or change badly, do not survive. Those species “lose” nature’s arms race. Period. I can’t say I blame you at all though. I had a high school diploma and a bachelors and still had the same ideas you did until I sought out books by great evolutionary writers such as Richard Dawkins or Jared Diamond. Your comment demonstrates the epic failure of the school system to adequately teach evolution in school. It’s not your fault, but do yourself a favor and go pick up a book or two before you weigh in on an argument you don’t understand.

    • Sorry. I realize my words can easily be misconstrued. Near the beginning we I said we don’t grow anything of many stimulus, I meant we don’t grow anything new. Counter-example: we do change/grow the brain in certain limited ways based on stimulus. We do change/grow muscle cells based on physical workload stimulus. BUT changes of that order are as far as we go. Example: Frogs didn’t learn to jump higher because predator pressure or prey needs forced them to do so? Some ancestor of frogs randomly had a greater jumping capacity than its forebears, and that fact aided that animal in its ability to survive to reproduce SO it reproduced more than its less jumpy cousins, and eventually a new species arose.

    • Anyone else know that 2 comes before 1? Damn if I took this seriously (instead of KNOWING that IT was BS) then I could have learned this from all the games I payed to play that are FREE!

    • CJ are you retarded or stupid? Just wondering where you rank on an IQ scale so I can start to chart how low of an IQ you must have to believe any of this. That is not to mention that you can find these GAMES for FREE! Anyone paying for this that realizes how much they saved from this post and want to send me a $1 thank you just let me know….this way I can be rich too!

    • Are you sure you don’t work for them,
      monkey recently posted..Iron Man Mode Fundraiser FinaleMy Profile

    • You use your brain every day, just to breathe, think, and move. You’ll learn better just going outside and observing your surrounding than from having your ass parked in front of a computer playing crap scam games that don’t work.
      Then again I bet your IP shows San Fransisco, too, you paid shill.

    • @Even more

      Not to worry, you made fine sense.

      I hate that I’m saying this, but there’s a reason that higher learning was once kept away from non-scholars. They misquote and misuse it without even realising what they’re doing. 3000 years and nothing’s changed.

    • Well they either hired the Russian Troll Army or some bots write these. They all sound the same and don’t understand the English language structure. They all use the same formula. (just like the snake oil salesmen).
      I wonder how much they pay for these comments.

  91. You’re entitled to your opinion. You may be right or wrong, I don’t know (but I’m Canadian so probably too polite/weird/nice to say what I think). However, please don’t use douche-bag as a descriptive of someone. It is rude, unpleasant and unnecessary. Use your words, be more erudite. PS – It should be “Prices are in sterling”, not stirling. Stirling is a city in Scotland and if they go ahead and separate from the UK they won’t get their paws on sterling.

    • Thanks for dropping by. I didn’t call someone a douchebag, I referred to the faceless mass of people behind Lumosity a collective douchebag. Either way, it’s hardly the most offensive term I could have used.

      Cheers for spotting the typo, though. Much appreciated.

    • There is no definite way to know that for sure unless they do it. Douse!
      Go find these games for FREE! STOP getting ripped off even if you think they work! We all work to hard to get scammed!

    • You revealed your Canadianness by beginning with “You’re entitled to your opinion”. :)

      Americans end with that if they bother to mention it at all.

      Having said that, the word-police are never going to solve any problems. The best way to deal with any sensitivity is to either avoid it or, if possible, get over it.

      Cursing, crude language and the like will exist as long as people remember how to make alcohol. There’s nothing to be done about it.

      I myself enjoy a robust session of crudeness. But I do try my best (sometimes) to remain tactful.

  92. I find it intriguing that you discourage consumers from purchasing Lumosity based on their lack of scientific evidence, then don’t give any scientific evidence proving or even suggesting that it doesn’t work. Perhaps it is a scam, but your reasoning doesn’t support your conclusion, it is merely an opinion.
    JL recently posted..Garry’s Mod #4 – Take It To The BridgeMy Profile

    • The burden of proof is on the party making the claim – I don’t have to prove it doesn’t work, they have to prove that it *does*.

      … and I’m guessing you missed all the sources linked to throughout the post showing that it doesn’t work?

    • I strongly disagree with anyone who claims Lumosity does not work. Have any of you personally truly tried it for a short period of time? My daughter was perscribed this a form of cognative rehab after a catastrophic motor vehicle accident. It accurately shows areas of deficites, as well as strengths. I know this for a fact since I am well aware what areas of the brain effect what functions. The TBI my daughter substained damaged all areas of the brain, and for almost 4 years she’s had numerous, and multiple types of testing. Her initial use of Lumosity DID show the areas of deficit. The first week of use daily results were examined and had shown only improvement each day. There is improvement each time this is used. I have personally observed the benefits, and can attest their claims are true. The cost is very inexpensive with a one time payment. Lumosity is WELL worth the small expense. How can you honestly state it’s a scam ? I believe any claims you make are “bogus” and a “scam.” I think you believe your “above” others, and so much “more” that you believe what you think whether your right or NOT ! Common sense would tell you that to do something repetatively will increase ones speed, and skill. To study, practice, and focus on something such as this will only increase skills or maintain them at a minimun. You appear to be quick, to be negatively opinionated about something you obviously know nothing about. Maybe to do this gets you attention that you obviously crave. You strike me as a hater, who tries to come across as a superior who’s above all others in intelligence. As well as thinks their a comedian. I know of people who have patients who use Lumosity for rehabilitation, and the users of this program have all benefited from this. University of Michigan Doctor’s recommend and recognize the benefits. I trust their knowledge. I personally have observed the benefits as well. You should find more positive things to do. I hope your unfounded opinion has not detoured someone from using this program. There are only positive benefits from all I have seen and heard personally from those that have used this. I would purchase Lumosity again, and find it to be more valuable then the small cost. A life time membership cost less then most game systems before purchasing games and accessories. There is no shooting, killing, or stealing on Lumosity. It wont get broken, and its educational, yet those who have used it that I know, actually enjoy, and like using it. Children who need to improve in areas in school would benefit and increase their skills as well. Something personal must be why you state misconceptions about Lumosity. You should really try it… Thank’s for your opinion, yet most people want real facts about reviews by real people who have actually used what their commenting on.

    • Getting way to bored of making fun of the people that try to defend how they spend their money. So for the last time, no sarcasm included, please stop wasting your hard earned money on something that you can get for free. I say this as a person that hates to see places like this take advantage of people. If you feel that this works for you then go for it just don’t pay for it. If you don’t think that it works but get entertainment out of the games then go find them and just have some fun.

    • I felt compelled to read the painfully long paragraph that was written by Steph. By the way, you could have simplified a lot of things and left out all of your opinions to shorten the paragraph. Secondly, I choose to believe you when you say Lumosity can provide rehabilitative effects for certain people. However, the fact is that studies have been conducted using thousands of people and by more than one group of people. Their results do not come into Lumosity and their user’s favour. Sorry, but that’s that. You can use the links at the bottom of the article if you’d like further information.

    • @Zeke

      Bang on. JL is another in a long line of non-scholars misusing knowledge. That or he’s a shill and it’s deliberate. Either way it’s bad for the tribe.

    • I don’t hear Lumosity being marketed as rehabilitation.
      Their ads are for games that are fun and make you smart! Maybe if they did market it as some kind of re-hab then we wouldn’t think of it as an outright scam. (Oh and the retarded sounding name)

  93. Great info Zeke, and right on. I’m a neuroplastician, hired by the military to develop a non-digital brain training program 7 years ago to reduce casualties in combat that does work ( Why? Because its not on a digital platform. The problem with Lumosity and others like it is that a digital interface impacts only a narrow spectrum of the brain. We are “Analog” (as opposed to digital) beings and the more senses involved in any neural activity, the faster and stronger the new neural connections formed. That’s why the evidence for Lumosity is better scores in the games, brains lighting up like Christmas trees, but little or no real world improvements.

    Robust stimulation is necessary to grow post synaptic receptors and digital just doesn’t cut it, though as you point out its a heck of an easy way to make money! Write once and sell a million times, cover the flaws with great marketing, time to take the clothes off the Emperor!

    • Very interesting! Thanks for the insight.

  94. On a whim, I spent the money and have used Lumosity for a month now. It has perfectly done what the designers intended. It has obtained money and stroked my ego. They carefully throttled my progress by going through low scoring beginner levels and higher scores later. This creates an incredibly rewarding progress chart where I can see my brain power getting bigger as my wallet shrinks. I am not fooled. This is for entertainment purposes. I am merely playing until I finally reach my intellectual limits. It is fun. It hits me with an adrenaline rush to race against the clock and I love the ‘natural high’. This carries forward to better enjoy any activities I do immediately afterwards. Do I mind the false pretense and deceit? Not really. It is what it is.

    Much like this blog, excellent for entertainment purposes. Thank you very much.

    • You hit the nail on the head here. Many thanks for dropping by, and I’m genuinely glad you get a kick out of the games without any of the pretense.

  95. I used this (cr)app for about 3 days back in September. I have always been quite good at adding and multiplying numbers in my head in rapid time. I found that after 3 days of luminosity (yes, I do the same thing), I actually noticed I was having trouble with simpler equations. Stopped using it immediately. I think it’s actually bad for you.

    • Not sure I’d go as far as saying it’s harmful other than to a person’s wallet, but thanks for swinging by.

  96. Duuuh – every time I get one of those Lumosity ads on Youtube and this ‘all based on neuroscience’ line comes up, I’m about to go apeshit. As a psychology student, I get this shit all the time.

    Can’t get worse than scamming people claiming ‘science’ is on your side when actually it’s quite the opposite.

    • I agree! Their “science” claims are really funny! Same tricks as used by the banking industry thieves and their “Nobel price for Economics” — In “real science” it takes only one empirical evidence to a contrary to abolish a theory.

      This is not to discourage people from enjoying “Brain and Puzzle” games. (Here is better one than any of the Lumosity ones — Just don’t pretend it is science with some bugus crap. Take it for what it is.

    • “Hello class! Today we’ll cover the science of using carny gimmicks to sell snake-oil! I expect the entire class to be full of sh!t by tomorrow!”

      Er, in case that exercise in eccentricity was inadvertently vague, I understand and agree with you. There is very little worse for the future of humans than the grand-scale passing off of bullsh!t as fact (or its cousin, the passing off of fact as possibly bullsh!t).

      Tesla’s version would have been less costly than Edison’s…. so it was buried.

  97. It seems you have actually forgotten about the slickest scam Lumosity has going here… They ask you a sheet ton of personal questions which when combined with your scores gives them a massive DATA MINING capability and you PAY THEM FOR IT. If they were to sell it they would get paid TWICE for your info!! Who gives a damn about games, eh? Those are just to distract you from the truth, Drones. Damned slick, huh?

    • If by slick you mean shady, underhanded scumbaggery (it seems you do), then yes.

      I would suggest that sarcasm isn’t the proper tool in this instance. Ref: South Park Sarcastiball

      99% of incorporated businesses have elaborate scams written into their business plans.

    • @Me

      *business models. Derp.

  98. Actually I take it back. The trained group bar is between 0.4 and 0.6 so the Y value is actually 0.5 for trained group. Therefore, control vs trained the increase is 0.3 = 30%

  99. Users didn’t increase by 2.5. If you look at the graph, it’s in decimals, so the users increased by 0.25 – which is 25%. Not 2.5 – See more at:

  100. Users didn’t crease by 2.5. If you look at the graph, it’s in decimals, so the users increased by 0.25 – which is 25%. Not 2.5

  101. I wouldn’t say it claims to improve intelligence, so it’s strange to cite studies on whether games do. It’s about mental agility, which we lose as we age. And games like these are a well-documented method of improving mental reflexes.

    To the best of my knowledge, the only area of controversy is the issue of whether we’re refining our mental agility or just getting better at the games. That’s where anecdotal evidence is useful. It seems to work for some more than others.

    I think you’re mistaking this site for something it isn’t, which could be corrected very easily with firsthand experience.

    • “C’mon! Just try it! I promise it’s not as bad as you think!” <– Advanced Shilling

  102. PBS nightly news had a piece tonight on Scientology. It’s absolute rubbish too, but of course it’s a markedly more efficient way to separate people from their money than is Lumosity.

    • PBS AND SCIENTOLOGY? Damn South Park shows how much BS that is and how irrelevant what you said is to this discussion. Go pay for the service and you may understand this some time before you die. If, and only if, you play every waking minute of every day you have left to live.

    • The Church of Scientology is probably funding these kinds of endeavours. Snakes beget snakes after all.

  103. I am fining lumosity helpful and the games challenging in a variety of ways.

    • Then I would recommend you use a grammar game as well.

    • I want to say something clever but it would just be over your head so….your just stupid!

    • This is the response of a child who’s teacher just taught him a new way to use English.

  104. You might also include something about their credit card scam. They appear to use webgamegame to process their memberships, promising a free membership and assuring you that a credit card is only needed to ‘validate your membership’, and that it won’t be charged. However, in the small print of the membership confirmation email it says ‘recurring transaction’. When you delve deeper, assuming you haven’t taken them at their word, you find that if you don’t cancel your membership then it will automatically revert to a premium membership and you’ll automatically be charged $39.95.

    But wait, there’s more! When you then burrow your way through to the membership cancellation page, you’re asked to pay 99c to cancel! That is, of course, unless you want to call them directly and wait on hold for a while. You’re warned that cancelling in this way could take 3 days, so if you called on day 2 of your free trial membership, then guess what…?


  105. Personally, I find Lumosity to be really helpful. I play it once a day while also studying for a masters degree in atmospheric physics. I have noticed a real improvement in my mental sharpness and verbal fluency. No complaints from me. I don’t understand why people moan about the cost. The same people probably spend far more than the membership fee each year on alcohol and cigarettes.

    • “I have noticed a real improvement in my mental sharpness and verbal fluency” … and that is what we call confirmation bias.

      “I don’t understand why people moan about the cost. The same people probably spend far more than the membership fee each year on alcohol and cigarettes.” … true enough. People could also give the money they would have otherwise wasted with a Lumosity subscription to charity, so it’s swings and roundabouts.

    • Extreme shill makes my tact hurt.

  106. Hello, I log on to your new stuff daily. Your story-telling style is awesome, keep
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  107. It’s a shame really. The iOS app is beautifully made and the games are good fun. I would happily pay a few bucks for it but the pricing and the claims that go with it are just ridiculous. For example, they are essentially asking you to pay 299,95 EUR for lifetime access to a collection of pretty simple games. Craziness! And whose lifetime are we talking about anyway? Mine?

    But you got to hand it to them, they sure know how to dupe people. The free games you get to play are very addicting and who isn’t at least a little curios about if it really could work? The pricing is also so over the top that many think everything Lumosity claims must be true. It’s all very carefully planned and perfectly executed, they pull all the right emotional strings. It’s actually a little impressive.

    At the end of the day it’s still a fraud and Lumosity is on purpose deceiving millions of people. But then again: It is not the one who asks who is stupid, but the one who pays… ;-)

    • But it’s not about who may be stupid. It’s about the underhandedness of selling snake oil as good medicine.

      It would be fine if their pitch was something like, “Bored? Here’s some mind-zoning nonsense to pass the time!” But honesty is a hard sell.

  108. You sir have shown me truth today and I thank you for that. No bullshit writers such as yourself need to continue to show the light on all everyday gimmicks, and improve the life of the reader. One last thing. Fuck Luminosity.(:

  109. The marketing shills in the comments make me LOL. I have yet to meet someone who uses Lumosity (a likely occurrence according to their “statistics”). Or the people who actually have used it are justifying their choice and money wasted through cognitive dissonance. You may think I’m dismissive, but the burden of proof lies squarely on the shoulders of Lumosity. And they’ve a tall order to fill.

    • That’s a good point.

      Outside of “progresive” cities, there aren’t too many people who can be bothered to stroke their egos with “brain training”. If they weren’t flushing their waste/ads into public media then nobody would even notice.

      It’s against the nature of good thinking to pay these people. I cite the shared heritage of human survival as testimony.

      Some rural folk and travelers even still got the old sense (if you have to ask…), which is about the only reason I stay optimistic.

  110. Thank you for this. Thank you for not being a lemming.

    If people only realized being skeptical would better their brains rather than blindly accepting claims by those out for cash.

    I nearly signed up for Lumosity but kept wondering “Why are they giving us games for free? What’s the catch?”

    So I started where I always do: The Privacy Policy.

    But when everything checked out and they weren’t claiming to data-mine my browser and cookies for personal information to sell, I realized my mistake. They weren’t offering free games. They were giving me a taste of their site in an effort to have me pay to play more.

    They want consumers to play minimally challenging games that will hook them, leading them to hand over their cash. And sadly, it works. It’s similar to Facebook games that have users addicted and willing to pay for extra features.

    I knew the site wouldn’t improve my intelligence or memory, but I didn’t realize they were lying to consumers to make a buck until digging deeper.

    The commentors who erroneously criticize you on your alleged suggestion that traveling makes people smarter are probably referring to the end of your post where you say, “Open your front door, step through it and go socialize with real people.” However, it’s completely idiotic for them to call this “traveling”. If it weren’t, then I travel to the grocery store and to the mailbox on a regular basis.

    Commentors, what our astute writer here is suggesting is not that traveling will increase your IQ or memory or whatever you need to improve, but that experiencing the world around you is what makes you knowledgeable. You don’t need to pay a steep price for low quality games that offer no benefits because there is a world around you from which to learn! The great minds of our past were great because they asked questions, thought critically, challenged ideas, and theorized their own.

    Curiosity is key, not “Lumosity”.

    • I think it is important to consider the idea that lumosity is not meant to replace learning through social interaction, and it certainly is no substitute for a socratic method education system. It is meant to be utilized in conjunction with, or in addition to real-world experience. Also, the computer-based brain training games do offer benefits in improving cognition. Even prior to, there were studies that demonstrated this. One study involved children playing the game Tetris. I am sure it is available on the internet. In the meantime, here is a little reading that might shed some more light on the subject. If the article isn’t enough, check out the numerous citations (in the “citations” section at the end of the paper). Enjoy!

    • That article you linked to was put out by Lumosity themselves. Thanks for playing, though.

    • Crap. I got suckered. Oh well, it’s only money.

    • Cheers to skeptics. Without them we would all be rubes.

  111. The subject here is a bull shit! I train on Luminosity since July 2013 and I can say that in the last time I can find very quickly best answers or best solutions when I am in deadlocks, comparing with the past when I had so many regrets because I didn’t find the answer or solution in the right time and I lost the opportunity, this is a great improve! Also, I can notice any little tiny move in my area, like when it drop something and I can catch it, or when it light the screen of the cell when I get a message being on silent, and the cell is almost behind me…I feel so much difference than when I started. I play only the games that it have to every day, no waste time playing extra….

    • Um…it’s called Lumosity. Glad it’s improving your memory and focus.

    • Are you, like, totally offended? Carny hypnotists have been pulling off the same con for generations.

  112. You are mistaken. In this case it is the blogger who needs to provide the substance, do the research, and remain impartial. You can’t have me believe the blogger found no trustworthy original research papers with an opposing argument.

    Sample size is largely subjective. I’m sure you know that, for example, when examining functional connectivity, a relatively small sample size (by census studies standards) is widely accepted (scientifically) and proved statistically significant.

    The blog does not follow any formal or semi-formal structure, it does not define what brain training is or why it was thought to be important (assuming it is no longer so, otherwise justifying why it still is important research), it does not state what the possible areas of cognitive improvement are (if any), no comparable outcome measures, (…) the list goes on (…). As such it fails to be informative and to convey any compelling assertions.

    • Whether you believe me or not, I can assure you that I found no trustworthy, original research papers with an opposing argument, OTHER than the concessions I’ve openly made already (those being that there is good evidence to suggest it can help in autism rehabilitation, and some slightly shaky evidence that standard video games can improve hand eye coordination.)

      For the rest of it, it seems we are at an impasse and will have to agree to disagree. I appreciate the comments and you’re welcome to provide sources to counter me. I’ll read them with great interest and openness. Otherwise, I made my objections clear, and offered good sources backing up my premises. At the same time…

      “As such it fails to be informative and to convey any compelling assertions.”

      It is clearly written more for entertainment rather than any other reason. I just didn’t expect to end up triggering a 100-comment long, furious debate.

      Great fun.

  113. Do not underestimate the consumer!
    With 40 million lumosity members and half million likes on facebook you should have your answers soon enough.
    I doubt all will keep paying if they see no difference or feel it’s a waste of money\time or when the novelty factor wears off. If it is a scam as you suggest there will be a giant army of unhappy customers and tons of bad reviews. But I don’t see many negative reviews from those who actually used it. ;) As long as the consumer is happy I don’t see a problem here.

    • Erm… thanks for the social media statistics? If Lumosity want me to put out a full press release, they’re welcome to just ask me :)

      The number of Facebook likes a company has isn’t a measure of their efficacy, it’s just a good indicator of how much money they throw at the marketing department. In addition, have you ever heard of ‘confirmation bias’? Plenty of people – users, researchers and even folk in these comments – have pointed the mechanisms by which Lumosity creates the illusion of improvement. Do your reading.

      “As long as the consumer is happy I don’t see a problem here.”

      Well, yes and no. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – go nuts. It’s your money and I couldn’t care less what you get up to in your free time. But know that brain training games are bullshit, and the reason I’ve spoken out is that I’m dead against companies which propagate bad science. That IS a problem, and it has tangible, negative effects which do harm people.

    • Phahaha! Did I accidentally quote social media stats as a measure of efficacy? No I did not. Is someone in dire need of a little luminosity to improve their reading skills? Seems so. hahaha

      Confirmation bias must work both ways, surely. ;) But I’ll hang on to your stats based on those “plenty of folks”.

      The “Well, yes and no” part is also a little confusing. No problem with lumosity really if the consumer is happy (40 million of them, oh wait, maybe they’re the unhappy subscribers??? and the 600k facebook likes are all sarcastic???). Hahaha

      PS – 40 million isn’t a social media stat. It’s the number of lumosity member… bah i give up!

    • “Did I accidentally quote social media stats as a measure of efficacy?”

      I didn’t say you were claiming that. But you marched in here yelling about how well they’re doing on Facebook like it’s important or that I should give a shiny shit, so I was just explaining that it doesn’t and I don’t.

      PS. If you want to get all pedantic about it, a ‘statistic’ is a numerical datum or value, so yes, you posted a piece of numerical data relating to their social media.

    • Whoa! It’s like talking to a slow child!

      Did I accidentally march in here yelling about how well Lumosity are doing on Facebook? No I did not. I marched in here stating two facts, two key messages and a conclusion.

      The facts are: a large number of members (40million) and a smaller number (500k) of facebook likes.
      The conclusion here is: plenty of customers and catchment.

      The key message 1 is: we should have our answers soon enough.
      Meaning: with such a large number of consumers sooner or later we will find out if it works or not – at least based on how well the consumer feels about it (im not debating if its placebo effect or not! but even if it is, it won’t work forever!).

      The key message 2 is: if the consumer is happy, there is no problem.
      Meaning: Whether they do sketchy PR stuff or not, if the consumer is happy with the product and provided it doesn’t harm their health, there is no problem here.
      So far I haven’t seen much negative feedback but given the huge number of members and a bullshit product, you would expect quite a few..
      But who knows, maybe in the future we will be flooded with negative feedback when the illusion of improvement wears off?

      Concluding remark: dont underestimate the consumer!

      PS – The fact that 40 million is a numerical datum (probably approximate) still doesn’t make it a social media stat. It’s just the number of lumosity members (not on facebook, actual members!).

      PPS – At least you’re trying to give half a shit. Kudos!

    • Corporate talk dude. Completely separate from proper consideration for the future of human society.

      Boilerplate shilling though. You must have aced your business courses. So good job on that.

  114. I totally agree with your article. This whole “science of neuroplasticity” thing is driving me crazy. I disagree with you on one point though. I think that girl in the commercials is a hotty

    • Haha, yeah, she is a bit cute. I’ll give you that.

    • I’m sorry if a scientific phenomenon is making you crazy. Maybe you should stop reading about actual science and just go back under that rock you live in.

    • A cute ditz is a booby-trap boyo. She wreck yo’ life! Make no mistake.

      Moving on, @lol, when was the last time you used the phrase “scientific phenomenon” in a sentence? There’s no such thing as “actual science”. What you’re referring to is called, among other names, fact-twisting.

  115. Blogger claims to be impartial but does not include any evidence on the positives of brain training or what the trainings are/were designed for. Repeating “you’re wrong” several times and quoting selected sentences from research papers or other bloggers does not reassure the author has any serious or compelling argument. Rather, it reads as a personal opinion, borderline defamatory.

    • Y’know, your rebuttal would have had more substance if you’d actually provided all this ‘evidence on the positives’. Once again, I’m all ears if anyone can find a study featuring original research that is A) not carried out by a brain training company, and B) has a decent sample size with controlled testing.

      Until then, the mountain of evidence pointing towards Lumosity’s claims being exaggerated (at best) still stands. As for ‘quoting selected sentences from research papers’, what did you want me to do? Reproduce the entire white papers for you? They’re properly linked, click through and check out the original source material yourself.

    • Wow ! It’s so obvious as I read the comments most of you are stating things that are not factual. Your merely giving a negative opinion about something you truly have no knowledge of. If you simply read the claims Lumosity makes, and actually look into all the independant people from all over who have been involved in their studies, that they are constantly performing, you would see the “EVIDENCE” of their claims. Many of these people are highly educated people from well known facilities, who have the expertise to help perform, and evaluate these studies. Lumosity still posts for professionals, and people to be a part of these intensive studies. If what most of you state here is believed to be true in your mind, then I hate to tell you that you seriously lack reading comprehension skills! Various studies have been done, people with various circumstances, and a large multitude of people from all over, with the skills needed, have conducted, or been a part of these studies. Therefore, there is substancial evidence on “Brain training, the specific areas, and the benefits” from using Lumosity. Cost keeps being commented about as well. A entire life time membership is under $300.00. There are trial periods for shorter periods of time for much less. This gives the consumer the freedom to purchase this product as a trial, or longer if desired. Those of you who are ignorant to the facts, are making yourselves look completely stupid. You are so off on what you are claiming to be a fact. It is most of you who are misleading, dishonest, and lack knowledge. Besides it appearing to be “personal” on your part, I feel that you merely thrive on negative gossip. You get off on making others look bad just to do it. People may partake in Lumosity for rehabilitation, to keep their mind and skills sharp, or for fun, so what? Yet, why state such lies ? A Speech Pathologist (along with others in the medical profession) use the same types of games to test, and improve ones skill. The only difference is Lumosity is a fool proof way to do it independently, as opposed to someone administering it to you verbally or written in a non independent setting. Which would be more costly, and foolish, since maybe at a later time the person could do this independently. If someone purchases this for other reasons, one would spend some money to do something else instead. Books, games, etc. There’s only so much you can get, if anything that’s free. This would at least provide more benefit then some of the other hobbies one could have. These games start easy (to most people) , to become more challenging. “Now there’s a great concept!” Makes sense to me. Neuroscience is used in these studies, for all you other scientist who can’t understand where the science is in their claim. Improvement in cognative function, performance, capabilities, reasoning skills, working memory, abilities, life skills, motivation, decision making, reasoning, eye hand coordination, reflexes, visual enhancement, memory loss, processing speed, flexibility, attention, anxiety, depression, brain fog, motor skills, increase math skills, and much more. It can monitor ones improvement, defiencies, enhance learning etc. Some games are similar to those used in the “Wechsler Test of Intelligence.” It monitors ones strengths, weaknesses, and progress.There is even more this offers. It also prevents ones brain to regress in these areas. “Don’t use it, lose it” concept. Some of you that did try Lumosity may simply be upset you scored lower then you want to admit !
      Extensive studies do prove Lumosity to rehabilitate and improve brain function, one of them is the human cognition project. State some REAL facts !

    • 1st year law student miming the schemer playbook.

    • @Steph

      Does your obvious emotional state contribute to your inability to press Enter once in a while?

      This isn’t Disqus; paragraph breaks don’t require any knowledge of “code”.

      That said, it’s like you went down a list of legal rebuttals from an overpriced textbook. You can’t win that way in real life.

      A fact, by definition, is real. There is no difference between a “real fact” and a fact.

      If that makes no sense to you, consider why that might be.

  116. Most interesting comments on both sides of this article. Not sure how to settle the disagreement. Despite the fact that I do not play chess, read occasionally, and have never played lumosity, I have managed to acquire a PhD in Physics and some minor degrees in math. Perhaps there are genetic and self motivation componens to this conversation. Who knows?

    • And look at that! Congratulations! Good for you!

      What everyone fails to realize is that memory retention and brain plasticity decreases as aging begins and to top it off, brain plasticity decreases shortly after childhood.

      Everyone wants to be “smart,” right?
      Here’s a shot in the dark. Learn to be a disciplined and work hard for your education. The number of your IQ doesn’t mean anything if your not willing to do the work.

      And please, don’t try to come back at me with some googled facts you looked up to try and prove me wrong. I have the education to back me up. $30 per month internet subscription and a knack for typing isn’t an education.

    • PsychDegree – Very good points well made. Cheers.

      DocPH – congratulations on your academic successes. I don’t think it’s possible to achieve a physics doctorate without being very driven and ambitious. They strike me as character traits which are gained more through environmental development and don’t necessarily correlate to ‘intelligence’ (though that would obviously help) so I’m not sure it’s particularly relevant to the topic of brain training, but either way it’s an undeniably fascinating subject.

      This does, however, lead me on to a fresh point. I’ve been wondering why there have been so many butthurt comments from Lumosity customers – I may have made a massive faux pas by not making it clear that this whole thing IS NOT intended as a slight on the people who use brain training games – in fact, I think it speaks volumes about you if you’re keen to enhance your cognitive functions and actually go out of your way to try and improve them. I would imagine that the average brain training game signer-upperer is quite intelligent by their own merits, fairly driven, has a good emotional intelligence and the type of person who’d be able to get a PhD.

      So no, I’m not judging well-meaning people who are hoodwinked by brain training companies. Their claims are very convincing.

      This is an attack on the hoodwinkers.

  117. So braintraining doesn’t work because there is evidence to suggest it only improves performance in the games played? But reading actually makes you smarter! You think passively absorbing information increases intelligence but actively playing frustrating games doesn’t. It’s obvious you’re one of these people who believes they are in some sort of intellectual upper class because they read, reading for entertainment is one of the least intellectually challenging activities possible, second only to watching children’s tv. One couldn’t improve in some of these games without improving in other areas, familiarity is not a factor because the games are so simple, working memory is. And although that won’t make you a creative genius, improving working memory will make you more efficient in mathematics and other simple tasks. I think you are saying this because you’re insecure about how your favorite meal is testicle surprise, you obviously lack the faculty to actually complete any of these games. Reading by the way is even less mentally stimulating when it’s porn magazines full of obese americans drawing pictures in shit with their erect penises. Everyone knows you masturbate thinking about eating that sperm infested turd. Next time you try to use “empirical science” to prove something, remove you’re tongue from the urethra of your muscular boyfriend so you aren’t so distracted you can’t form a cogent argument, you condescending cunt, kill yourself. I will rape your corpse. It would have to be with a 6 inch wide dildo, because I know your anus is soooo stretched, my 2 inch wide 9 inch dong would be like a hotdog in a corridor, also I don’t want to catch your HIV.
    I work at lumosity Austria.

    • I get the impression your brain short-circuited halfway through writing that.

    • This has to be a troll post. No way it’s srs!

    • This has got to be the gayest post I have ever seen. I’m only 14 and I’m laughing so hard at the amount of bullshit you just wrote. Books require the least amount of intellect to read? Maybe because you don’t know how. Or maybe because your library is full of Winnie the poo. Geeze how old are you? Fucking dill hole.

    • So, you are claiming to work for lumosity? I guess lumosity is happy to employ deranged lunatics…

    • Expression of doubt. What kind of shill capitalizes his country but not his company?

      Maybe it’s just a dragged out pr0n-inspired metaphor, but that seems unlikely as it fails to make a point. I think this individual just wants a private moment with the author. Stay frosty real Zeke!

  118. Haha! It was entertaining reading all of this banter. I can see how disillusion frustrates you, and rightly so. However, I think if your approach to revealing to people that they might be wrong, have wasted their money, or were conned, was a little more proactive, friendly maybe, it would see greater success. I understand this does not apply well to the original piece as you spoke about it being for entertainment, but in your continuing defense, some compromising positivity might allow you to reap more converts. Admitting your wrong is hard for people! Make is easier for them. And never forget, Orwell’s “Proles” are a real group in this world, they like their lives… however disappointing to you those lives might be, and if you want to change they way they live them, market it well! Otherwise, who will buy it?

    • So, how old of a vampire are you? :D D D D D

  119. Sorry I rephrase that…. nothing qualifies you to interpret and summarise scientific research and tell us it’s bullsh!t. You really are biased …. stubborn …. rude… and have a personal vendetta against lumosity for some obscure reason no one cares!

    • “nothing qualifies you to interpret and summarise scientific research and tell us it’s bullsh!t”

      If you like, I can show you my Official Permit To Post A Blog Post On A Blog, which has a little wax seal and everything.

      “…and have a personal vendetta against lumosity for some obscure reason no one cares!”

      Given how often you keep coming back to post butthurt comments, I’d say you care. In fact, you seem to care so much that I see you’re now posting under different names (the IP addresses are identical). Talk about ‘stubborn’.

    • You know I’m right and I found your shifty selling technique!

      Don’t flatter yourself. I came back because you replied to my post and you were rude which by the way is not improving.
      But I can understand your frustration. Your arguments are weak and you still have to defend your silly ideas at any cost….

      I’m posting under different names now?? Similar IP addresses?? What the heck are you on about and why are you trying to trace me for??? Try sending me an e-mail… or is that fake too????… the other users have the same e-mail too? … geez …
      Anything to change the topic when you’re out of arguments…. What next? You’re gonna say I’m being paid by Lumosity? Personal attacks?
      Trying to vilify me because I disagree??

      What a joke!!!!

      Those are rhetorical…. don’t bother replying with more lies… I won’t bother coming back.

    • “You know I’m right!”

      Good job mary. Really. That definitely counts.

      Speaking without thinking is like lighting your carpeting on fire for warmth.


  120. sciencedirect (dot) com/science/article/pii/S0278262612000292

    • Thanks for posting this, I hadn’t seen it up until now. Don’t want to diminish from the fact that it’s a very good collection of papers on the topic, but it isn’t a new study in and of itself, and doesn’t bring any fresh info to the table. It’s not entirely impartial, either…

      That publication is a ‘special invited review’, which is simply a commentary on existing work rather than peer-review research.
      They’re usually co-written by two people with opposing views for balance, but in this case it’s by two grad student (at the time) who both were arguing for brain training.

      Handy definition of a special invited review here:

    • Oh dear you are questioning the peer review process of the B&C.

      Rest assured the paper was peer reviewed and it is a comprehensive report of existing research written by scientists. Indeed reading it would be beneficial to your understanding of the field. It is of course impartial.

      There are several papers in reputable journals on the benefits of brain training, for example




      and so on

    • Peer reviewed processes should always and constantly be questioned.

      Quickly before science becomes dogma!

  121. If you want to improve your train of thought play
    chess. A lot of people laugh when I say this, but I have played many math games to even the lumosity crap.It doesn’t even make sense to me, but when I played chess everyday I seem to better in any area

  122. You don’t need to play lumosity to have an opinion on it.
    I read the other day the majority of brits think immigration is a serious problem needing drastic action. Then I read that the majority of those who said it never had any form of contact with an immigrant and live in the country. Fair enough, each to their own individual opinion. But if your work is to review games or even journalism you really should have tried the games first….. otherwise it’s as biased as reading testimonials on the lumosity website.

    • That was the worst false equivocation I’ve ever read.

      If it was my job to write about immigration, I wouldn’t base the hook on the ‘opinions’ of some right-wing lunatics who have never been to another country. But you know what? I wouldn’t base it on the ‘opinions’ of people who were well-travelled, either…

      … because, as you point out, opinions are meaningless. If I was writing on immigration, I’d base it on actual data and research.

      Same with Lumosity. The science shows it does not work the way the company claims, regardless of my (or anyone else’s) ‘opinions’ or anecdotal experiences.

      “you really should have tried the games first….. otherwise it’s as biased as reading testimonials on the lumosity website.”

      Tell me, what would you say if I had played them extensively and still asserted they didn’t work? Let me guess: “That’s just *your* opinion!”


    • No fallacy. Right wing lunatics find plenty of science and numbers on their side too. I would have given you credit if you had written a review on the actual lumosity games…. like what you think about usability, fun, how many different games, what other games out there are similar and free, etc as that’s what you’re supposed to be good at… nothing qualifies you to do scientific research and tell us it’s bullsh!t science. Worst thing is you treat everyone like they’re idiots and wrong and you’re the only one who’s right and cracked the case…. that’s not very nice. Also nice try…. you tell us to play other games for brain training instead and give us 5% discount at your store… nice selling technique, very honest. *clap clap*

    • “…nothing qualifies you to do scientific research and tell us it’s bullsh!t science.”

      Absolutely correct! That’s why I linked to proper scientific studies which did the work for me. Guess what the conclusion was? Brain training games are bullshit. You’re welcome to provide a science paper that contradicts it (which was conducted by an impartial body using a sizable test group), but so far nobody has.

      “I would have given you credit if you had written a review on the actual lumosity games… what you think about usability, fun, how many different games, what other games out there are similar and free etc”

      What? Why the hell would I do that? I was writing an article about how terrible their marketing campaign is and how they don’t work as ‘brain training’ games. If you came here wanting a game review or a list of features, then I’m sorry the title “Brain Training Games are Bullshit” didn’t give you a heads up that you were in the wrong place.

      I personally couldn’t give two shiny shits about how ‘fun’ they are. But if you’re aware that their claims aren’t substantiated by science but you’re happy to pay the subscription because you simply enjoy the games, then knock yourself out! Heck, write your own blog post about it.

    • WIll you please shut the hell up already, and STOP posting. You’re and idiot!!!

    • He’s talking to you Hummer. Your name doesn’t reference a military patrol vehicle does it? Something less dignified perhaps?

  123. I stumbled upon Lumosity years back when I was searching for online memory/logic/puzzle games. I didn’t buy into any marketing BS… After playing brain shifter several times in a row, and actually feeling my mind’s ability to accurately process the game, I realized there is something to Lumosity’s games. Lumositiy challenges your minds versatility when it comes to recognition. You have to see/identify, process, and react in a set amount of time and then you are ranked against others doing the exact same thing. Is the way you process information efficient if your times are slower? Anyone who is somewhat serious in improving their mind’s capacity has to wonder. Educating your brain on how to interpret information faster, through recognition versatility, is something Lumosity’s games help with.

    • No, of course you didn’t “buy into any marketing BS”! You just so happened to be actively looking for brain training games in the first place, found Lumosity, gave them your card details, and are now parroting their pseudo-science…

      Come on, guys. Give me a break.

    • What do you suppose the bonus is for dropping a shill like that? $20 per approved comment? Surely it couldn’t be less!

  124. I cannot stand these Lumosity ads.

    First of all, I find the chick to be ugly as sin, annoying, and yellow-toothed. She has that crazy “I believe anything” look throughout the entire ad, like an ex-girlfriend I once had who just would not let the “Make $100,000 a year working at home!” ads go, which basically resulted in her just sitting at home all day watching TV while I worked. She also believed in ghosts and the physical force of slipperyness (I kid you not… she tried to argue me that slipperyness was a force in phsyics and that if I wasn’t careful driving, slipperyness would somehow awaken from its icy slumber to just “throw” my car directly off the road… my pleas to understand frictional forces vs. inertia were promptly ignored).

    Simply the fact that the ad clearly says “actor portrayal” should be enough to set off anyone’s bullshit alarms. I could at least buy into it a “little”, maybe, if it was a real user all starry-eyed and telling me how it helped her. No, we don’t even get that. We get a paid actor, acting like it changed her life… which is exactly what actors get paid to do. And that’s basically Lumosity saying that they think the viewing public is dumb enough to buy in due to their silly commercial.

    I visited Lumosity years and years ago when it first started up. I took their little pre-test and scored 100th percentile in two categories and 98th percentile in another. I played a couple games and quickly grew bored. I visited again last year before all these stupid ads took off and did the pre-test one more to time to see if I had started to slip with older age and got 100th percentile in two categories and 97th percentile in the third. I actually played the games in that section for a couple of days and retested and got a *lower* score.

    So I feel I’m actually dumber now for having Lumositized. The time spent doing this junk could be much better spent learning guitar or choking a cat.

    • And by the way “slipperyness” is intentionally misspelled. I don’t care what the dictionary says, “slipperiness” just looks weird. It’s not how Whitman would have spelled it!

      “Phsyics”, on the other hand… that’s an illustration of the force of slipperyness directly at work and was entirely unintentional.

    • I spent some delusional time with a new-age lady myself. It’s uncanny (not really) how closely my experience mirrored yours.

      Actually once had to listen to a horrible story regarding which charity commercial was most favored by “Gaia” in what I suspect was an attempt to see if I would waste money on her whim. Madness!

      I also suspect that this type of looney megalomaniacal thinker is one of Lumosity’s target demographics.

  125. I dont understand why some people get so worked up. just read the page title – writing funny about some pretty sweet games! It’s humour not science lol xD

    • Indeed; it took me a while to realise I had stepped into a kids playground. It is sad though.

  126. I subscribe to lumosity. I play their games until the point of mental exhaustion. Anyone who says they don’t get mentally exhausted playing their games…IS LYING.


    If you have never seen a game before, do you need to learn how to play?

    If you learn how to play a game, are you learning?

    Does learning increase your knowledge?

    Does increasing your knowledge make you educated?

    Is being educated BS?

    The basic logic functions Lumosity games work on are useful in learning any topic. My guess is you aren’t a math/logic guy and you profession isn’t a technical one. If you are, or your profession is, you are probably just average.

    • your*

    • Your own logic breaks down when you make the leap from learning how to play a game to ‘being educated’.

      Here comes the clue train, last stop you: gaining proficiency in an arbitrary brain training game does not increase cognitive function in any other area or skillset in your life outside of said game. That is the entire point of the article, and is something which is repeatedly backed up by peer-reviewed science.

      “The basic logic functions Lumosity games work on are useful in learning any topic.”

      Well done, you bought into their sales pitch. Sadly, you’re also wrong. and if you actually read the article properly you’d know that – seems you’re not very good at comprehending and retaining information, or perhaps you’re just average.

    • You don’t know a thing about mental exhaustion chap. Try staying awake for more than 48 hours if you’re interested in learning. Braining while utterly sleep-deprived is tricky.

      What you think you’re referring to is more commonly called extreme boredom. It happens when you play games for dummies.

  127. What a load of bull. You’re suggesting that travelling is the way forward to develop brain power? What the heck are you defining as power here? How can travelling or watching a documentary improve anything other than learning? I think everyone should learn about other cultures and get out of the house and explore the world but that is another topic entirely. You need to understand that games, some similar to the lumosity ones, have been used successfully as part of neural rehabilitation. You can also then think of other games such as tetris, chess, sudoku, etc and how they help the users develop certain skills. You will also find that those who practice lots of math generally are better at maths than those who watch tv all day. Well, lumosity is all about practise and it has quite a few math games (not to mention information processing, spatial awareness, etc). You won’t improve anything without practice and Lumosity does not suggest you do… which is why there are sessions for you to practice daily/weekly/etc… so I don’t understand where you get your ideas from. Oh wait, I think I know.. you’ve never played a Lumosity game! Well then, why not give it a go? There are quite a few free games anyway! To be fair, for someone who advocates broadening your mind with travelling, this article is a ‘little’ on the narrow-minded side. Reading up Nature Neuroscience would also help you learning a bit more on how the brain works. What’s up with today’s lay dudes blogging and moaning about things they don’t know (and don’t bother knowing) anything about!?!! Yeah, it’s a lot easier than doing research.

    • “What a load of bull. You’re suggesting that travelling is the way forward to develop brain power? What the heck are you defining as power here?… To be fair, for someone who advocates broadening your mind with travelling…”

      What? Where did I say anything about travelling developing brain power?

      Anyway, putting aside your little sales pitch for the company…

      “Reading up Nature Neuroscience would also help you learning a bit more on how the brain works. What’s up with today’s lay dudes blogging and moaning about things they don’t know (and don’t bother knowing) anything about!?!! Yeah, it’s a lot easier than doing research.”

      Remember that journalists and ‘lay dude bloggers’ like myself are impartial when writing about this kind of thing. Heck, I didn’t expect anyone to read this post much less to get into a war about it – I just took a look at all of the info out there with no prior biases, and felt compelled to call bullshit.

      On the other hand Lumosity, and their butthurt customers, have every reason to be biased when making their grandiose claims.
      Perhaps you should do some proper research yourself, and as I keep having to remind Lumosity’s puppets in these comments, that does NOT include A) Annecdotes, or B) Lumosity’s own biased studies.

      So I’ve decided to do the job for you. Here’s some of the research for you, if you can be bothered to look at something not put out by Lumosity. Note that these are peer-reviewed studies with massive control groups – on the contrary, most of the ‘positive’ evidence usually comes from tiny control groups, and if you look hard enough, the scientists/article writer is usually in the pocket of the brain training companies.

      “Last year, Hampshire published research showing that out of 44,600 individuals who took an earlier version of the MRC tests, those who had regularly brain-trained showed no advantage in any form of intelligence relative to those who did not. By contrast, those who regularly played video games did better in short-term memory capacity and reasoning.”

      “No evidence of intelligence improvement after working memory training: a randomized, placebo-controlled study.”

      “David Z. Hambrick, associate professor of psychology at Michigan State University, and his colleagues Thomas S. Redick (lead researcher) and Randall W. Engle will soon be publishing new evidence that fails to replicate the very study that so much of the commercial industry rests upon.”

      “a 2010 study by the neuroscientist Dr Adrian Owen, which tracked 11,000 adults over a six-week computer-based training regime… reported benefits in executing the tasks themselves but little general advantage in other areas.

      Owen concluded that regular players of brain games got better at the games themselves through familiarity rather than showing any marked improvement in fluid intelligence ”

      “The answer, however, now appears to be a pretty firm no—at least, not through brain training. A pair of scientists in Europe recently gathered all of the best research—twenty-three investigations of memory training by teams around the world—and employed a standard statistical technique to settle this controversial issue. The conclusion: the games may yield improvements in the narrow task being trained, but this does not transfer to broader skills… Playing the games makes you better at the games, in other words, but not at anything anyone might care about in real life.

      Over the last year, the idea that working-memory training has broad benefits has crumbled. One group of psychologists, lead by a team at Georgia Tech, set out to replicate the Jaeggi findings, but with more careful controls and seventeen different cognitive-skills tests. Their subjects showed no evidence whatsoever for improvement in intelligence… This failed replication was recently published in one of psychology’s top journals, and another, by Case Western Reserve University, has been published since.

      The recent meta-analysis, led by Monica Melby-Lervåg, of the University of Oslo, and also published in a top journal, is even more damning…”

      Also worth reading:–far-transfer-effects-643-763

    • Your sub-heading reads: “HOW TO ACTUALLY IMPROVE BRAIN POWER” and shortly after I read “Go watch an Attenborough documentary and discover more about the world”. I don’t think the word travelling in the context of discovering the world was a step too far, was it?!

      I am well aware of the research, and how difficult it can be for a lay person to interpret a vast collection of papers. Did you use meta-analysis as a methodology?! You are mixing everything: memory, working memory, neuroplasticity, information processing, multitasking, speed, intelligence, IQ. You are also mixing the intent: fun, rehabilitation, training particular functions (cognitive or not), for the young/for the elderly. In short, you just can’t put them all in the same basket and say: it’s bullshit.

      But I can reply in a similar fashion by introducing you to the works of Adrian Owen in the MRC in Cambridge:

      and Anguera at UCSF,

      which are wrapped up for lay persons in


      I was hoping that my previous post was self explanatory but you decided to label me as a Lumosity fan and avid user. You’re clearly gifted at reading between the lines (I feel I need to point out that this was a sarcastic remark!).

      My point was that there is no harm, only benefit, from ‘training’ your ‘brain skills’ with games. Be it old fashion lego bricks, playing tetris, chess, crosswords, cards or even their electronic/on-line counterparts, which can include Lumosity. Whether Lumosity’s BPI is entirely ‘accurate’ and how we define its utility that’s another debate. This is an exciting time we live in and much research is needed to continue our understanding of human cognition, which should be encouraged at looked at with an open mind. Lumosity and their project is just another piece of ongoing interesting research. Additionally, apart from metrics, Lumosity is giving us a chance to play games that are slightly more stimulating than passively watching a documentary. Any initiative that gets millions of people playing games rather than passively sit in front of the telly or youtube is an achievement in its own right.

      PS – I am a scientist!

    • Gotta thank you because it’s inspired me to write an update to the post – I just published it at the end of the post right as you were writing this, so apologies for the cross over.

      “You are also mixing the intent: fun, rehabilitation, training particular functions (cognitive or not), for the young/for the elderly.”

      I concede that there has been strong evidence to suggest brain training has aided in helping autistic adolescents, so you’re absolutely right on the rehab angle (though I doubt they use commercial brain training games?). But I’m clearly talking about the general user here hoping for cross-compatible cognitive improvement, for which there is no evidence. Simply put, Lumosity make a claim, the evidence does not back it up.

      Your first link: “Although improvements were observed in every one of the cognitive tasks that were trained, no evidence was found for transfer effects to untrained tasks, even when those tasks were cognitively closely related.” So thanks for that?

      Second Link: Well done – at least one of the scientists behind the study is a commercial publisher of brain training games. Biased much?

      “My point was that there is no harm, only benefit, from ‘training’ your ‘brain skills’ with games.”

      What about wasting people’s time and money that they could be using to exercise? Also, ‘brain training’ games should not be equated with general video games here – studies show a big difference in the efficacy of each.

      I agree that it’s a fascinating subject and I’m all for further research. But we don’t need Lumosity and the others clouding things with bad science on the pursuit of making a quick buck from confused consumers.

      PS – I know you’re a scientist. Radiology, right?

    • It’s becoming difficult to read the comments in such narrow columns. Is that part of a dissuading strategy?!

      Radiology would have been a better choice but it’s not a science per se, right?!
      If you can campaign and donate a few million pounds to fund research on human cognition then please do! It would be more useful than pointless rants on science. Your alternative choices for brain games are laughable, and your article does not encourage people to play games that can help improve any particular skills for those who need them. I’m sceptical to hear what good science is from whoever writes a blog post like this. But on that topic I can recommend Ben Goldacre’s book as a start. Lumosity claims have been corroborated, even if only by a cross-section of the population.
      I have recommended their games before (as well as other games) and the anecdotal evidence is fairly positive. We need more research and Lumosity have got the funds to do it. So let them. You’re angry at their marketing scheme, I get that. I was angry at the GTA V marketing scheme, but I guess it is more fun to pretend to shoot people in the streets than playing a few memory games, sudoku or chess. I tell you what next you can be angry at: 3D TVs and videogames. That my friend, is worth spending some time on. On the other hand I’m sure further evidence on cognition and computerised games/tests will appear in the literature shortly for your amusement. Bare in mind that rehab(symptomatic) approaches generally take priority as they should.

    • H/She is attempting to dispute the ancient knowledge that experience is the best teacher. Beyond stupid. Just inconceivably foggy.

      I do understand the compulsion to drop knowledge on a dummy, but it’s greatest effect is on those observing the “discourse”.

      Then again, you very likely already knew that and I’m exemplifying redundance. Ah well… I’m ready to sign on for the first colony on Mars. Space or bust!

    • @Zeke

  128. I dont know about all the games but a lot of people could use the basic math reinforcement. lol it really can help rational thinking to do repetitive games based on the rational part of your thought process, which by the way is not your cognitive part. So yeah they charge a lot it is from San Fran. what do you expect? still to be noted that practice makes perfect and reading will not help either unless you do critically evaluate what you read.

    • Nice try, guys.

    • They sit in rooms for hours thinking up this stuff. Tragic.

  129. You want real nuroplasticity cross your hands, arms, and legs the opposite way you do, it will feel odd, but you brain will start to rewire itself, and you can do it watching TV, *cough* I mean reading a book. I use my left hand for many tasks, as well as pick up things with my feet rather than bending over, you will be using your brain and training it more than lumosity.

    • You might be inteserested in the writings of Carlos Castenada. His main character, a Yaqui sorcerer named Juan Matus, prescribes exactly the same technique for the neophyte practitioner. Crazy eh?

  130. You’re a fucking retard whoever wrote this article. End of story. Congrats on the shitty article, with absolutely no basic at all in reality or scientific understanding.

    • Another moron who can’t spell. Congratulations, DUMB ASS!!!

  131. Very annoying ad, and the way they throw around the words neuroscience and neuroplasticity is totally bogus.

  132. Maybe we could all just do real math and try to remember real things and learn real stuff instead of just playing games. They are fun, but sadly they don’t make your brain throb like it should when you work hard. I can understand that some of the games help, but most of them are just purely fun and nothing else.

  133. Yesterday I played and had a certain BPI, today I played again and doubled my score in two games that previously were kinda hard for me. That is, today I got twice the score that I usually had in those two games.
    I did fine on the rest of the games.
    My BPI?
    It remained the same! Exactly the same number! I am convinced lumosity is total BS!

  134. Snake oil for the brain. And snake oil will always have a wiling buyer. For alternative nootropic solutions that don’t actually cost much money, try google. Google something like ‘how can I get smarter’ and exclude all options that rely on you parting with money. You may find underwater breatholding to be more effective, on pills like piracetam. But it may actually require you to part some electrochemical bonds between adenosine and phosphate if u catch my drift.

  135. It’s indeed ridiculous that the author wrote this without ever having played the games. He seems like a smart guy, based on his writing ability. So it’s of shocking how he doesn’t realize that not actually having played the games, invalidates his argument to a large degree.

    I’ve been playing the free-trial Lumosity for a couple weeks. It’s just push-ups for your brain. It’s probably a lot more concentrated mental stimulation than most people typically get in a day. You exercise any part of your body, and it gets stronger. Why should your brain be any different?

    • The argument isn’t invalidated in the slightest, since it’s based on actual research rather than anecdotal reports of its effectiveness, which is why I left my own out of it.

      Anyway, if I’d played the games and come back saying ‘that was rubbish, I don’t feel any more intelligent’, you would have just accused me of basing a whole argument on my own experience anyway, so that wouldn’t have helped anyone.

      In a nutshell, I care more about actual science rather than people’s anecdotal claims. That’s also why I’ll happily ignore your own claim that it’s worked for you.

      ‘You exercise any part of your body, and it gets stronger. Why should your brain be any different?’ Read the article again. It’s not as simple as that.

    • It is very simple, to expand and to grow your brain and it’s abiltiy to do what you want it to do. There.s training, there is diet, there is positive/transcendental meditation techniques one needs to learn, exercising the mind body and soul will create miracles, in ones life. In your case, just soldier on you will get there eventually.

    • Love your argument. You have him dead in the water Jay!

      I mean, if I am going to discredit big foot, I must first search for him in the woods, right?

      Maybe you should play Lumosity, I mean, it is supposed to work for the brain damaged.

    • “Love your argument! You totally support my happily uninformed opinion and you’re awesome for it!”

      Craptastic. Seriously. 2 shills are better than one I guess? Teamwork, synergy and all that?

  136. I like Lumosity and understand it for what it is. It is a fun website of semi-challenging brain games. The free version is probably the best way to go, unless you want to have unlimited games at all times. You also have to understand that BPI will increase a lot from your initial attempts. Thus, BPI is not really similar to an IQ score. However, with time you will see what is basically your “true” BPI.

  137. Hi Zeke,

    Thanks so much for your post, it’s great! I saw an ad for luminosity for the first time today and actually burst out laughing. I am a neuroscientist and at best we show fancy brain/ behavior correlations. No online creation of a race of super geniuses. The problem is that no one questions brain sciences; it’s not like someone is going to challenge me on “spin theory.” It’s pretty unethical to take advantage of that situation. Although, if my perspective changes through the mind altering games of luminosity it’s good to see on their site that I can always sign up as a “researcher.” My goodness. Good for you.

  138. Hahaha. Labotomised Gibbon!

  139. There is an interesting book by Malcolm Gladwell which states that to become a genius, 10,000 hours of practice, work, rehearsal, etc would make the job. Now, if you practice 10.000 hours of luminosity perhaps you are going to become a genius in solving this games, but can that really translate into real life situations? I doubt it.

    So the main idea of this book is that is passion what makes geniuses, if you are passionate about mathematics, those extra hours of effortless practice will make you smart at it…

    • What book would that be?

  140. One thing that is left out of the article and the comments is the fact that you will not constantly continue to improve. The memory game is a good example of this (I’ve been stuck at 22 squares for months). I do agree that Lumosity is a scam however my use of the number pad (right side of keyboard) has increased by 200% meaning I no longer have to glance over.

  141. The graph shows a memory span increase by 0.3

  142. I am a 2 time USA Memory Champion, I memorized Martha Stewart’s magazine on her show and held record for fastest to memorize a deck of cards in USA. I am 100% in agreement with your article and assessment of lumosity

    • @memorytraining So what do you recommend for improving memory then?

  143. Use your brain more and you will be cleverer. Programming may be a good choice.

  144. Use your brain more, and it makes you cleverer. Programming may be a good choice.

  145. Hey Zeke, I’ve just read your page and I’d like to say thanks for caring enough to take the time and trouble to put it together .  Obviously, you like a lot of people who occasionally hit overload at the amount of rubbish that thieves want to charge us for, have decided to give the more honest of us a fighting chance.  For that I thank you.  I think you’ve done well enough to give most  people pause.  If the product can stand up to closer scrutiny then good for them. If it just takes a closer look to bring them undone you’ve done what you set out to do.
    I would like to say though that your use of Ken Ham as an example was probably unnecessary wether you agree with him or not.  What you had to say was quite capable of standing alone.  I felt that your use of him as an example was actually  distracting from your main message.  I was speaking to a friend  a few days ago and we were discussing the use of cliches’.  We felt that not only , when misused or over used, they made people lazy.  Well we are all lazy somewhere sometime so that wasn’t the real beef.  It was that a persons true depth of thought was often replaced by glib responses and that with a little more effort some ‘thought’ that could have had impact was lost.  In around about way your use of someone as a negative example, though easy enough to do, replaced  a better argument.  I’ve been trying to take my own advice  since that conversation and it definately give me pause for thought.  Thanks again for the heads up.

  146. Lumosity helps you to utilize your brain power more efficiently, But it doesn’t make you a genius. For that to happen you need to study a lot. But works best with the information that is known to you already. Like if you are working it can help you sit in the board meetings for a longer duration.
    God Bless.

  147. Zeke you are a bit of a wanker

  148. Thank you for this.  I am nearing the end of a two-year subscription to “Luminosity” (in my defense, I actually AM brain-damaged–very slow-growing brain tumor) that I got in part because I actually enjoyed the games, especially the attention- and task-switching-testing ones, and in part because I was hoping that the games would serve as a sort of early warning of subtle cognitive decline should the tumor start to act up, certainly way cheaper and faster than getting appointments set up for genuine, thorough neuropsych testing. Sadly, when I inevitably got bored with the games and took a long stretch off, it became clear to me that even for my relatively modest purposes, the “BPI” is pure bunk. In several months of non-play, this “scientific,” “normalized” score, supposedly based on comparing my score to millions of others, DID NOT BUDGE. This despite massive marketing campaigns that were, allegedly, bringing in millions of new users (with presumably crappy scores, as they were new and “untrained”). OTOH, that might have been counter-balanced by established players growing in expertise, which might have made my score fall a bit by comparison. Either way, I find it impossible to believe that those two forces would EXACTLY cancel each other out for several months in a row. A score based on comparisons to other players should have been wobbling  (however slightly) up and down on the scale throughout the entire time I wasn’t playing. But nope, absolutely dead-straight line. Obviously, they’ll get no more money from me. I figure if my work performance slips or it takes me longer to solve sudoku puzzles, or I get into more arguments with collaborators on theater projects, that’s enough early warning. And I’ve been meaning to brush up on chess and rock climbing (probably not at the same time ;). I figure those are “brain-training” enough.

  149. Good spleen venting, but you (and apparently the entire rest of the world based on the absence in the blogosphere of the following complaint) are missing the true ‘scam’ of Lumosity.  The true scam is the way the BPI (their measure of “cognitive performance”) is calculated and presented. Users can see their cognitive performance increasing over time, because their BPI goes up.  This, we are told, shows us that the snake oil is working: our efforts are resulting in measurable increases in our cognitive performance … as affirmed by our increasing BPI.
    The true ‘scam’ is the manner in which the BPI is manufactured.  Sure, you, the user, play games (i.e. take tests) and the results are used to calculate your BPI, but two factors underpin the genius of Lumosity.  These are:
    (1) Users’ BPIs are constrained initially
    (2) Users’ BPIs at any point in time are based not just on today’s performance, but include a component of backward looking ‘averaging’
    The first of these means that all else being equal, your BPI will increase over time, as the constraint is slowly unwound.  If you want users to see an increase in their BPI over time this works really well, but it is only a temporary solution… sooner or later you run out of ‘constraint’ to unwind, and users will start achieving their ‘true score’.  This is where the second of these factors comes in: by calculating the BPI as a backward looking average, the original low scores will become a smaller and smaller component of the average, meaning that over time, your BPI will increase towards a score reflecting your true intelligence.  For those that remember some high school math, this is an asymptotic function, whereby your BPI will approach (but never quite reach) your true score.  [see the end for a quick numerical example]
    I want to be really precise in my complaint here:  I am not saying that Lumosity does not work. I have no basis to say whether or not it does.  What I am saying, is that Lumosity have set the BPI up in such a way that mathematically it will go up, whether or not your cognitive performance is improving.  Lumosity claims a rising BPI shows that you’re getting smarter … an amusing falsehood until they turn around and try to get you to purchase a subscription on the basis that a rising BPI shows their product improves your cognitive performance.
    I am not sure why this complaint (perhaps ‘perspective’ is a better term… after all I am still a paying user who enjoys the games even as I laugh at the BPI claims) has not been levelled more broadly. 
    [mathematical example using IQ instead of BPI:
    * consider user with IQ of 100
    * user is tested daily
    * initial score is artificially constrained at 50
    * score at any point in time is average of all historical scores
    * so, tested IQ after each day ("Day X") is..
    => day 1 = AVG(50) = 50
    => day 2 = AVG(50,100) = 75
    => day 3 = AVG(50, 100, 100) = 84
    => day 4 = AVG (50, 100, 100, 100) = 88
    => day 5 = AVG (50, 100, 100, 100, 100) = 90
    ... and so on]

    • @InANuttallShell Wow! Thanks so much for the insight here – having googled the issue extensively before penning my original musings, I also think you’re the first to have picked up on the BPI manipulation aspect of the Lumosity scam. Thanks again for taking the time to lay that out. I think this pretty much nails it.

    • @InANuttallShell 
      Thanks for breaking out the math.  I’ve been on Lumosity for a few days, and I was wondering how this BPI is calculated.  I knew that there were constrained averages at play, because your score always gets bigger. 
      I’ve also noticed in my own gameplay that once I learn the rules of a game and adjust / become used to the buttons to push, etc., I get better at the game.  The first time is always my slowest, and once I play a couple times the cobwebs really fly off. 
      So, it’s foolproof that I’ll “improve” just based on the nature of the beast. 
      Again, I’ve bought a subscription (for now) and I like it… but it would be naive to think that a few short moments of gaming over the course of a few days has all of a sudden wrested my brain from some kind of intellectual slumber. 
      It’s legit science that gamers boast better hand eye coordination thanks to the act of gaming, so perhaps there’s some kind of similar legit benefit that these games can give?  There’s also a lot of interesting study and discussion on neuroplasticty as it relates to things like sudoku and crosswords, and all kind of anecdotal evidence about people who’ve recovered from strokes faster / better than others because of doing these brain game type exercises. 
      Regardless of its legitimacy, I appreciate you doing the math and explaining it here. Thanks!

    • @InANuttallShell Effects of old scores are actually very minimal in lumosity.  A bigger impact is that as your scores increase you unlock more difficult levels.  My experience has been that you can generally plateau in about 10 games or so if this  is all that is holding you back, but may have criticised this because you are supposedly flooded with fake accomplishments as your levels increase and your sandbags are removed.
      However lets look at this.  This sort of personalization of game difficulty is not unique to Lumosity, but is a feature of adaptive testing in general.  The idea is that by tuning the test to the skill of the taker you can present a series of challenges in a narrow range of difficulty that will differentiate more within a narrow range of ability after locating a general ballpark level.  You can learn more about this if you google, for example, “sat computer adaptive testing”.

  150. So what’s wrong with keeping your brain active each day? Practise at something for a period of time obviously results in improvement. Improvement in the areas Lumosity offers. I don’t get the rant…

    • @tembom I’m not sure you’ve read the article properly before commenting.”Practise at something for a period of time obviously results in improvement” – indeed, you will get better at Lumosity games but that’s not a transferable improvement. It does not make you smarter or more mentally adept, as Lumosity claims (while happily taking your money).

    • @zekeiddon The fact that you can get better at the games should lead us to believe that whatever improvements you make can also be applied to other aspects of life. If reading can increase your vocabulary then why can’t a memory game help with memory? A game testing your attention span will help with focus. Not sure if Lumosity is worth the money but doing anything mentally challenging can most certainly help.

    • “The fact that you can get better at the games should lead us to believe that whatever improvements you make can also be applied to other aspects of life.”

      The problem is, the research doesn’t support this – it comes down to ‘intelligence fluidity’ and while there may be a tiny benefit to overall cognitive power, it’s nowhere near as grand, efficient or far-reaching as Lumosity claims.

      ‘Not sure if Lumosity is worth the money but doing anything mentally challenging can most certainly help.’

      I wouldn’t argue with this at all. Playing games on Lumosity is undeniably better than, say, watching an episode of Jersey Shore. But why waste money on something that you can get for free elsewhere?

    • It is a shame that so many uninformed ….lets say idiots are commenting on something they no nothing about. I can say over and over that China is a dirty nasty place…….but if I have never been there, how would I know or why would you trust me. The science behind Lumositys aproach is documented in numerous clinical trials done by many colleges around the world. University of Miami Medi al school alo.g with Miami Childrens Hospital has been using said science for years…..always with positive results.

      Furthermore, not all drugs work for everybody. Likewise not all exercises or teaching techiques work for everybody.

      It would be nice to read an informed opinion not a useless, biased rant.

      My reserch has shone that most people online debunking this science have never tried it even once.
      And most people who have……love it.

      Also…..60 dollars for a year subscription is hardly a rip off for what you get……..Hell a new video game wich does nothing for you but kills time costs that anymore

    • Wow, someone works for Lumosity! I’m a doctoral candidate in a phd psychology program. The cognitive psychology and neuroscience people in my program say that Lumosity is bull-crap, 100%, and takes advantage of stupid people according to various social influence techniques as mentioned in the article. There have NOT been numerous studies published in TOP, PEER-REVIEWED journals…there is low power and self-selection bias inherent in the studies cited on Lumosity’s web-site. Also, the other studies you mentioned have been “published” in pay-”journals” (give them money and they’ll publish anything without review) and online, open-access “journals” which are pretty much like comment boards or blogs. You will not get smarter by playing games on Lumosity. You will only get better at playing games on Lumosity; those specific games. Educate yourselves, fools.

    • There are a lot of nay sayers here on this blog that talk down Lunimosity. I am fortunate to have a non- bullcrap approach with regard to methods claiming to help improve oneself. For me, if it works, it works…I don’t care what any ignorant person has to say or rant- If it works it works. You can only tell if something works if you try it and from first hand knowlege of the training I’ve found LUMINOSITY WORKS. That’s it I’ve had enough of this Blog ‘A mind is a terrible thing to waste’ :)

    • It probably only “works” for you because you don’t want to admit that you wasted money… Either that or you work for Lumosity.

      I also note you didn’t state how exactly it “worked” for you. What exactly did it do?

  151. Damn, I did call it Luminosity this whole time.

    • @Halka AHA! I *knew* I wasn’t the only one! lol

    • me too, and i not even a english native

  152. I really like the games and they are fun, i was gonna pay just to play but its just way to expensive!!

    • I probably should have mentioned I hadn’t played any of the games before writing this so I wasn’t exactly writing from authority, but as you say the price still doesn’t justify the service even if the games are good fun to play.

    • Funny how you’re so quick to bash the research, yet bring nothing to the table aside from your bias opinion. You want to talk about intelligence? No one that has mediocre amount of intelligence would find anything viable in your ramblings. In the end, I should thank you for exhibiting what true ignorance looks like. The simple fact that you have never played any of their games, but pretend to know anything of their worth is nothing short of comical. Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one, yours however is the smelliest shit out there.

    • Brilliant. So have you got anything to bring to the table yourself, or are you just vomiting words into a comments box?

    • Try underwater breatholding or piracetam or morning exercise. It may require some parting with adenosine and phosphate bonds but it’ll keep your money in your wallet and your brainpower rocketing…like for like real bro’…duh. (Lumosity is for dull folk who find luminosity a ‘big word’).

    • Hardy et al. (2011) problems with its sample size. It was self-selected (not randomized) and was very small in size — 23 subjects. It was published in a journal not known for publishing original, peer-reviewed research either (which can be a warning sign about the quality of the research, since researchers always try and publish in the most prestigious journal possible).

      Gyurak et al. (2010) presented a poster at a professional conference (not quite the same as a peer-reviewed journal publication, but included by Lumosity).

      Caveat Emptor.

    • @RayshaCordero subscribed and what a joke.
       there are thousands of sites similar and free!!! 
      All the advertising and promos on tv sucks me in against my better judgement.
      Don’t waste your money on this crap

    • After playing these games for a few days, I began to notice how few games were available, and how the games never (never!) change….hmmmm, I thought, I paid $64 for this?
      Lumosity has become a very profitable website, with lots of subscribers. There is only one “stay smart” lesson herein — the Lumosity folks have made a bundle of money by putting simple, repetitive games on a very basic website, and charging a lot of money for it, capitalizing on people’s fears of dementia. The Lumosity founders are the only brainy people in this equation.

  153. @MasterSplinter1989 ”Obviously you did zero research before you wrote this rant.”
    Obviously you did zero thinking when you read it.
    “Games have been proven to increase many things such as hand-eye coordination.”
    Did I say video games in general don’t increase hand-eye coordination? No, you idiot. I said Lumosity doesn’t improve your critical faculties. You’re living proof.
    “The military used (I did when I was in the Armed-Forces)”
    You play Call of Duty? Awesome.
    “and guess what. It worked.”
    It didn’t.
    “to say that no one has learned a language in their sleep, WRONG. I did.”
    You didn’t.
    “Next time do research.”
    Next time consider learning proper English in your sleep before doing foreign languages.

  154. @zekeiddon  @MasterSplinter1989
     very well stated zekeiddon!  why are there so many idiots out there like mastersplinter with egos so inflated it blinds them from being open minded and logically analytical?  all the time I enter a forum with cold hard facts trying to support whatever argument or debate but instead of challenging feedback which I crave I get mere insults

  155. @michae28  @MasterSplinter1989 Thanks man. In hindsight I was a bit brash myself with that comment, but it was born out of the same frustration you speak of. Totally baffled as to why someone would comment here trying to argue an intellectual upper hand while writing like a lobotomised gibbon.

  156. What a backward child you are

  157. I think that there is ‘some’ positives in the games they provide you, in helping to exercise your brain. Unfortunately they no longer score you accurately, to make paying a thing I am willing to continue to do. Today I received high scores in the games Disillusion & Penguin Pursuit. Both games are clearly problem solving games, and yet my problem solving score fell to lower then it’s been in 3 weeks. Probably I’ll get a boost in my problem solving score in a couple of days, when I perform poorly in a problem solving type game. The same kind of thing also happened when I relieved a high score in Bird Watching, a couple of days ago. It is clearly an attention game, and my attention fell last week after receiving a high score. It then rose suddenly several days later. When Lumosity scored you using BPI, scoring made sense, and usually fairly represented your performance. They score you now using a system called LPI, that uses absolutely no logic. At least when they used BPI, it provided some amount of validity … LPI is probably only there to randomly boost main scores, to try and increase payers confidence, wt no accuracy. News Flash: Customers will not continue to pay, for shoddy scoring! Not every customer who plays Lumosity, is an absolute idiot. Many must be, or you wouldn’t continue your crooked scoring technique. See You …

  158. BTW there is only one kind of brain game that has been scientifically proven to improve your brain, and it’s called Dual-N-Back For a free desktop download of Dual-N-Back


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