Brain Training

Sometimes students are having a tough time not because they don’t understand the subject, but because of an inability to muster the focus necessary to make conceptual connections. In such cases, it might be beneficial to attempt another form of training known as brain training.

Brain training attempts to improve cognitive performance by repeatedly exposing students to psychologist created tasks with names such as antisaccade, the N-back and the complex working memory span task.

These are exercises in the form of games that are meant to increase in difficulty as a student gets better at them. Students are meant to focus without distraction on activities like looking for scattered numbers that add up to 9 while being timed. The goal is to build task stickiness and to enhance comprehension along with the ability to manipulate images instructions concepts and to increase the power of analysis.

The New York Tutoring world is filled with companies such as Lumosity, Jungle Memory, CogniFit, and LearningRX that offer this service are not to be confused with two doing companies. As a matter of fact, they piss themselves as alternatives to tutoring services. Their belief is that there are underlying mental challenges that need to be dealt with and you will not get those dealt with to tutoring.

The companies have started penetrating schools, charging $300 per child. And at $60 to $80 per private session, there has been no shortages of takers.

There are parents seeking to give their young students an advantage for example when time comes to take tests like the SAT. There are also parents who are looking to re-mediate learning issues. Some parents after trying multiple tutoring services and other avenues have found a home in the brain tutoring service industry.

Of course among the clients of companies tutoring in New York there are detractors, including former clients from the service providers. They complain that after paying large fees over extended periods of time, they have seen little to no benefits. Scientists upon examining the claims of companies in this industry are skeptical, as it is widely believed that there is no way to increase IQ, another claim made by at least one of the companies in the brain training industry.

Professor of psychology doctors determine believes that brain training does indeed improve one’s ability to take tests but does not believe that it includes that improves intelligence. He goes on to comment that a lot of the studies cited in the advertising materials are poorly constructed and with results that would not stand up to any sort of official review.

Dr Oliver Hill jr. A professor at Virginia State University has conducted a $1,000,000 studies, yet to be released, that shows the results of 340 middle-school student working using the exercise is provided by learning rx. The students apply the exercises 2 hours a week for semester and his results were that those who played the online games improved significantly on measures of cognitive abilities in relation to their peers, and also on Virginia’s yearly Standards of Learning exam. He is currently conducting a similar study but on student in Texas colleges and so far he is even more impressed by the gains he has seen.

A meta-analysis, based on 21 previous studies, carried out by a pair of european scientists found that the games improve only one ability: the ability to play the games better. There was no evidence that there was any transfer of skills to any other area of activity.

The programs that POSit, Lumosity, and Cogmed have developed have been used and are currently being used by psychologists in treatment for patients with ADHD, traumatic brain injury, and cognitive disorders. None of the psychologists are affiliated with the companies.

It is important as research continues and new findings come out, that we are able to apply these findings on a practical level. Brain training is a great example of practical application of a concept. Of course the findings were not a one-off situation. They came as a result of many years of studying underlying elements and these ideas stand on the shoulders of many other findings.

It appears that the scientific community does not stand behind the conclusion that brain training brings about any benefits. If that is true, then we cannot support the continued expenditures either private or by the state in using the service. But one thing we do stand behind is any form of mental stimulus as opposed to activities like playing video games.
Whenever effective tools are developed in the future, it is important to use these tools in conjunction with a learning program because these tools objective is more of a support for the learning process, and not a replacement for it. Any two-fold approach will create a booster result that could not be achieved engaging in only one, over the same span of time. In this era where more is being demanded of students in hopes of raising the PISA scores of American students, we have to seek any advantage available.