Brain Training Games: Are They Worth It?

Articles | Education

Brain Fitness vs. Neuro-Cognitive Training


Lately, many companies trying to capitalize on the increasing demand for brain training have created all types of software or online-based mental exercises and games, claiming that they can improve brain function. Although such activities can be fun and somewhat beneficial for maintaining overall brain health, they cannot correct problems. There is a big difference between brain training in general and neuro-cognitive training.

Let’s use an example to point out the main difference between the two approaches. Going to the gym and doing weight lifting is overall healthy to maintain the muscles toned. But if you have a specific problem, for instance you pulled a muscle, or tore a ligament, you will need more specialized exercises to treat an injured area.

Neuro-cognitive training works on resolving specific difficulties and repair brain circuitry, whereas brain fitness or general brain training can really help only with maintenance. So, if you are suffering from ADD/ADHD, or you suffered from a head or brain injury, or if you have a memory impairment because of a chronic condition such as stroke or post traumatic stress disorder, just regular video games or brain training is not going to do the trick for you. You will need a specialized neuro-cognitive training.


Which Brain Fitness Program is Right for You?


One of the ways to identify whether a program is intended for general training or designed to resolve specific cognitive difficulties, is to read about each program and to see whether the descriptions provided by the company promoting the program are general or specific. General brain training usually points to general benefits such as improving concentration, or improving memory, or improve your brain health, whereas a specialized program will be much more specific; for instance, improving working memory, improve long-term memory, improving audio-visual coordination, improving multi-tasking or executive functions, and so forth.

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