I recently came across the Lumosity app – an app that claims to train your brain! It offers a range of approximately 50 games developed by scientists and designers to train your cognitive skills. The games adapt to your skills and experience, and you can track your scores and see how you compare to others.
Now, seeing that I spend the majority of my days with a 2-year-old, and my main form of adult interaction during the day are short chats on social media, I thought it might be a good idea to give it a go and see what it’s like! I’ve got nothing to lose after all!
Once you download the app, you have to register, which always puts me off a little. If I’m not in the right mood, or if I don’t want an app badly enough, I will easily walk away at this stage. However, if I do want to try the app, I will register using an email address which I give out pretty much everywhere and anywhere, and it’s therefore full of spam and junk. You do end up finding the odd important email in my inbox, but at least I don’t get push notifications and don’t get excited every time my phone makes a ding noise! It’s an email address that I check it every few days to make sure I haven’t missed anything and delete the rest.
The emails that come through via the Lumosity app are however quite good – more on that later!
Take your fit test
After registering, you are asked to ‘take your fit test’. You’ll play 3 cognitive games of 2 minutes each, which will be used to calculate your baseline.
Learn about your brain
Once you’ve obtained your Fit Test scores, you’ll be compared to other members, and your training programme can be tailored to you. The app tells you things like ‘You scored higher than 84% of members your age’, which is something that you can’t possibly check for yourself, but at least it makes you feel good!
Choose a Training Path
You have 2 options for training:
- Premium Training (subscription-based) – ‘I want to take control of my training’, which allows you to customise your training programme and get advanced training tools. This costs £3.75 a month for a yearly subscription (for a total of £44.95) or £8.95 a month for a monthly subscription (for a total of £107.40)
- Limited Training (free) – ‘Just give me something basic’, where you get limited daily workouts and no customisation or tracking. This is what I’ve been doing in the last couple of weeks.
The app covers 5 cognitive areas:
- Information processing (6 games)
- Spatial orientation (1 game)
- Working memory (4 games)
- Spatial recall (1 game)
- Selective attention (2 games)
- Divided attention (3 games)
- Task switching (4 games)
- Response inhibition (1 game)
- Verbal fluency (2 games)
- Logical reasoning (1 game)
- Quantitative reasoning (1 game)
- Planning (1 game)
- Numerical calculation
These are all available if you purchase the Premium subscription, but if you choose the free Limited Training, you will only train in 3 areas a day, rather than 5.
The games you can play are selected by the app, and once you’ve trained in the 3 areas, you can carry on training as much as you like for that day, but only with those 3 games – the others will remain locked.
Unlike other games, this app doesn’t work on the basis that once you’ve unlocked a game, it will remain unlocked forever, and you can play it whenever you like. The games rotate, so if you’ve enjoyed a game today, it’s likely to be locked the next day and not available again for another few days or weeks.
So the bad news (it was for me, seeing that I only use the Limited Training option) is that you may find yourself addicted to one game today only to find it locked the next day. What you can unlock though are the levels, so if you’ve reached a certain level in a game, you can pick up from where you left off.
The Lumosity Performance Index
The app ‘rates’ you based on something called LPI – Lumosity Performance Index, a standardised scale calculated from your game scores. It lets you compare the strengths and weaknesses across games that challenge different cognitive abilities.
You get a score per brain / cognitive area. Interestingly, when I first started out, my Problem-Solving skills were scoring the highest. They were then followed, in this order by Attention, Memory, Speed and Flexibility. This was no surprise, as I’ve worked for 11 years as a Business Analyst and certainly used my Problem-Solving skills a lot!
Attention overtook Problem-Solving!
But as the weeks went by, and I continued training my score in Attention overtook the Problem Solving score, which I found quite surprising. And I do wonder whether that’s purely because on the day that it’s unlocked, I play a lot of the game ‘Trouble Brewing’, which consists in having to make lots of cups of coffee, on order. I think all it is is that because I’ve been improving my scores in that game, which focuses on divided attention, my overall score for attention has gone up. Is my brain generally better with attention than what it was a few weeks ago though?
Once every few days you get an email which tells you everything about a particular game and the science behind it. You get to find out who invented the game and why it is good to train your brain. And for me, that’s probably one of the most interesting bits.
I don’t think I’m ready to purchase the Premium Subscription. But overall I’ve really quite enjoyed my daily training, which takes a whole of 6 minutes. It may not do much, but what if it does?
What do you think? Will you try the Lumosity app in the New Year?
*Please note, this is NOT a sponsored post, and all opinions and views are my own.
I subscribed to the premium version of the game. I have had the free version for a long time. What I notice though is that when I play the game, I have a feeling like my brain is being stretched. One improvement in noticed though was that I could listen to conversations take notes and still catch up on conversations I would normally miss while taking notes. That’s some improvement in multi tasking my brain. What I actually want to get out of the game is improved memory but I guess you need more than a game to improve the brains ability to recall things. That’s more of a life style change and perhaps taking on new and challenging tasks. Overall, I like the app and I like the feeling that my brain is performing some exercise. There’s a saying that “the brain is like a muscle,use it or lose it”.
Thanks for the post Sara
It’s interesting to know that you find that it’s working! I’m improving in the games, but I wonder whether certain areas of my brain are actually improving for me when it comes to using it ‘in real life’! Keep me posted – do you get more games and train on 5 games a day rather than 3 with the premium version?
This is a neat app to help with brain training and cognitive skills! I personally enjoy challenging myself with hard level games of Sudoku and crossword. Always important to keep the mind active and sharp!
Thank you Ryan – Sudoku is great. Haven’t played it in a while!