Lumosity

 
2.7
 
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Lumosity

A robust and fun brain training App.

Lumosity seems to be adding new games to the Andriod app all the time, there's 21 brain games, which challenge a variety of your mental faculties; spatial intelligence, attention shifting, reaction times, short term memory, pattern recognition and mathematics.

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http://www.lumosity.com/
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Free
$11.99 / Monthly
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2 Weeks

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Lumosity Review: a fun Brain Training app with dubious Transfer Effects

Editor review

(Updated: March 27, 2015)
Overall rating 
 
2.7
Makes you feel 'Limitless' 
 
2.0
Mind power results 
 
3.0
Good value 
 
3.0

A fun Brain Training app with dubious Transfer Effects

Since I've logged so many hours Dual N-Back brain training, I'm going to draw a lot comparisons and insights between Lumosity and the N-Back apps I've used.

The biggest difference...
Is that the games are a lot funner than Dual N-back training; the graphics and animation are quiet sharp, it's not the entertainment value of say Angry Birds, but they are quiet fun. It doesn't quiet feel like a clunky arcade game shrunk into a smartphone app, like Dual N-Back does.

Lumosity seems to be adding new games to the Andriod app all the time, there's 21 brain games, which challenge a variety of your mental faculties; spatial intelligence, attention shifting, reaction times, short term memory, pattern recognition and mathematics.

My favorite games on Lumosity are...
Penguin Pursuit - This game is kind of like Packman, but you are penguin who has to race through a maze against another penguin to eat a fish. Every few seconds the maze rotates 90 degrees, so you have to reorient on the fly. It's kind a challenge for your spatial intelligence and I found it quiet fun. I've gotten so good at Penguin Pursuit that Lumosity is actually going to send me a stuffed animal Penguin as a prize... Just kidding! But I do feel like I deserve some kind of reward for my persist Penguin Pursuit.
Trouble Brewing - This game simulates the barrista's task of juggling customer's orders behind the bar of a cafe. I found it a fun working memory challenge.
I actually enjoyed the mathematics games as well, which is interesting because when I was younger I abhorred mathematics. Now I actually find the time based mathematics games pretty fun. I found certain smart drugs noticably improved my mathematics aptitude.

What about Transfer Effects?
Does Lumosity training just make you better at playing the games or does it actually make you more intelligent in your real life? Overall I feel like brain training has been really good for my memory...
Three to four years ago, I was actually quiet disappointed in my memory, my roommate even noticed that I would forget a lot of things. I remember being frustrated that being in my mid 20's my memory wasn't sharper.
Now my memory is quiet sharp; it's quiet rare that I forget names, lose my train of thought, run out of things to say or that I forget what I'm working on in the middle of the day and find myself mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. My short term memory has noticeably improved...
For example, the other day I was going to a housewarming party of some friend's who were moving into a penthouse apartment, one of them texted me the address, I came over, then a few hours later one of my other friends asked the address and I was able to tell them just from memory. Even now a couple days later I can remember it off the top of my head. This sort of thing happens to me all the time.
It's hard for me to say this change in my memory is thanks to Lumosity, though. I've spent an average of 15 minutes a day brain training for the past 3 years using Dual N-Back, Memory Systems, HRV training and I learned a second language which I trained using Doulingo and Supermemo.
My 30th birthday is coming up in a few months and instead of entering middle age feeling like I'm just getting older, I feel like I'm just getting better, that my 30's are going to be my best decade yet and I'm really excited.
However, it's really difficult for me to identify after three months any really specific transfer effects from Lumosity, compared to Dual N-Back training, where there was quiet noticeable improvements to my memory within 2-3 weeks.

Mindfulness training?
As I've talked about in depth, I found Dual N-Back to be tremendously beneficial mindfulness practice. Lumosity is a little story; you play 5 games a day and each game takes about 60 seconds. Your concentration on the game gets broken up every 60 seconds. So you spend like 8-9 minutes using the app but only about 5 of that is spent brain training. Whereas Dual N-Back training is a solid 10-20 minutes, at least, of focused brain training. In this regard it's nowhere near as challenging exercise of your focus muscles.

Barometer of Nootropic effectiveness and lifehacking habits
Like many biohackers I use brain training and quantified self technology to measure the day to day performance of the cognitive enhancers I consume:
Modafinil - Definitely spikes my mental performance, especially in reaction time and spatial intelligence based games.
Caballo - Similar to Modafinil, improvements in accuracy and reaction time.
Phenylpiracetam - This Racetam earned it's reputation as a math geek's smart drug for me. I saw my math scores go up consistently on Phenyl.
L-Theanine - No noticeable difference.
Noopept - No noticeable difference.
However; I don't take smart drugs everyday and a lot of other lifestyle factors make a significant difference in my cognitive performance, such as...
Diet, I see that artesianal pizza or delicious sandwich from my favorite cafe in a different light as I see the difference in brain training scores within 2-4 hours of these dietary indiscretions.
Sleep, brain training while tired or sleep deprived makes a pretty big difference versus doing it mid day after a proper night of sleep.
I practice #nofab intermittently in 14-21 day periods. I found that towards the end of those periods my scores level up.
A nice piece of hard evidence to back up a common sense, yet difficult to practice, lifestyle habit.

Meditation and Breathing
I'm also in the middle of my Headspace trial, I found something interesting, doing 10 minutes of mediation before brain training makes a significant difference in my scores, especially when I focused on profound breathing during mediation. Tech workers like myself are chronically shallow breathers, this improvement of Lumosity scores would indicate that several minutes of purposeful, profound deep breath, spread sporadically throughout the day will improve my productivity by 25% - 40%.

I found I got my very best Lumosity scores, after 10 minutes of mediation focusing on deep breathing, immediately proceeded by 60 pushups in the mid day, on a semi full stomach about 2 hours after consuming smart drugs, either Racetams or Modafinil.

As you Google search Lumosity or brain training software you'll find that a lot of people online are quiet bearish about it. It's kind of a grey area of science, there's some decent human studies showing that it does help your memory and there's some showing that it has zero effect.
The conclusion I've reached is that it's a tool for personal development that works for some people and for some other people it doesn't work.
Sometimes there's these people that want to start debates with me online because I recommend brain training software. I always ask these people: Have you actually tried making a practice out of brain training? They almost never have.
I say before starting a debate with someone like me give brain training a try for at least a month, 30 days. Do it with some consistency. It might do nothing for you or, like for me, it might make a big difference.

There's an +800 page, biography of John D. Rockefeller, appropriately entitled Titan. John D. Rockefeller, was the richest man ever, he built the company Standard Oil which employed 6 million people. In his biography it talks about how he was this extremely disciplined person, it talks about his daily schedule which he was extremely strict about, he would play a brain training puzzle game three times daily. I rest my case about the importance of brain training to a productive life.

In conclusion...
For personal development, Dual N-Back is still my top recommendation for brain training. However, as I've said elsewhere it's boring and I recommend getting some variety in your cognitive enhancement practices, So I recommend trying Lumosity. It has an unlimited free demo that only takes about 5 minutes a day and it is fun to play so what do you have lose?

Lumosity Review: a fun Brain Training app with dubious Transfer Effects
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