I’ve been fascinated by online Brain-Training since it first became available to the public (turns out the military and neuropsychologists have used some of these “games” for decades, to test and challenge cognitive skills). Thinking about your brain as another muscle that can be trained and strengthened can be enormously liberating in a culture where we tend to just think of ourselves as either “smart” or “stupid.” (What will be, will be, eh?) But does brain-training actually work? The scientific consensus is still out, but so far studies indicate that a consistent program of cerebral exercises can improve memory and cognitive function. That’s not nothing. As you might expect, it also appears to work best when it is done consistently and is incrementally challenging. Here are some sites to “workout” your mind.
• Categories: Brain Speed, Intelligence, Memory, Navigation, People Skills
• Cost: $15/month; $96/year; select games are free
• Recommended Game: Face Facts, a memory game, challenges you to recall names, facts, and faces as it incrementally adds additional data and profiles.
• Unique Feature: Scoring mechanism keeps you “in the game” until you succeed, giving you feedback on incorrect and correct answers.
• Categories: Attention, Language, Memory, Reasoning, Visual-Spatial
• Cost: $14.90/month; $79.80/year; 7-day free trial
• Recommended Game: Sleight of Hands, visual-spatial game, shows you one hand, making various gestures and in various positions. You must identify if it is a right or left hand ASAP.
• Unique Feature: Interesting games that challenge knowledge in trivia, geography, and language while honing other cognitive skills.
• Categories: Attention, Memory, Flexibility, Problem-Solving, Speed
• Cost: $14.95/month; $83.40/year; three daily “freebie” games
• Recommended Game: Ebb and Flow, in the Flexibility category, is a “divided attention” game in which you chart the direction of leaves based on either the position or the color.
• Unique Feature: Gives you an overall score at the end of your daily workout and includes a calendar that tracks the days you train.
• Categories: Concentration, Memory, Logic, Perception, Speed
• Cost: $9/month; $60/year; select games in daily workout are free
• Recommended Game: Operator, a mathematics puzzle, asks you to fill in the missing element in increasingly difficult math problems.
• Unique Feature: Dashboard allows you to view overall and individual category results so you can see what areas need work.