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Brain Train game no better than pencil and paper according to study


Unfortunately it turns out that Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training, a game that has become extremely popular on the Nintendo DS, does absolutely nothing for your brain that a simple pen and paper wouldn’t – if the French academic Alain Lieury has anything to say about it. 

It would seem as though the game, which enjoys heavy endorsement from countless celebrities such as Patrick Stewart and Nicole Kidman, claims to literally ‘train your brain’ by putting it through its paces matching colours with words and other such exercises.  However, Alain Lieury tested the effects of the game on 67 ten year olds and concluded that the game had absolutely no significant effect on a child’s mental ability.

The test split the 67 children into four groups and tested the brain training game on the children over a seven week study.  Two groups of children were given copies of the DS console to have a play with, another group were given a pencil and paper (old school style) and the final group were given the lovely option of attending school as always.  Lieury then tested the children in maths, logic and their memory.

The results showed how the brain training game proved to be the least effective method of learning, actually underperforming against the likes of the simple pencil and paper and obviously performing much worse than the tried and tested school option.  I reckon all those parents who took their children out of school and gave them a copy of “Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training” are kicking themselves right about now.

Lieury claimed that by simply helping your child with their homework, watching documentaries or simply playing Scrabble or Sudoku would work better than simple giving your child the Brain Training game.  However, according to the developers of the game, Nintendo, playing the games like Brain Training and Big Brain Academy, the user will improve their “practical intelligence” by improving blood flow to the brain.  Nintendo are also claiming that playing the games will make the user “two to three times better in tests of memory.”

“The Nintendo DS is a technological jewel.  As a game it’s fine, but it is charlatanism to claim that it is a scientific test,” said Professor Alain Lieury after discovering the results for his test on the ten year olds.  And just in case you were wondering why the professor tested the game on 10 year olds, then he’s got an answer for that, too.  “That’s the age where you have the best chance of improvement.  If it doesn’t work on children, it won’t work on adults.”

Still, Nintendo are adamant not to be shown up, and have even wheeled out the man behind the development of the game, Ryuta Kawashima, the Japanese neuroscientist, who claimed that, “The more you use the brain in a challenging way, the better it can work.  We know that the mental processes of our brain start to weaken if we only use it in our routine daily life.”


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