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Brain training technique gets a critique

Despite proponents' claims, memory workout may not improve intelligence, multitasking

12:06pm, May 9, 2013

Provocative evidence that certain memory exercises make people smarter has sparked the rise of online brain-training programs such as Lumosity. But at least one type of brain training may not work as advertised, a new study finds.

As expected, practicing improved volunteers’ performance on tests of memory and the ability to locate items quickly in busy scenes, say psychologist Thomas Redick of Indiana University Purdue University Columbus and his colleagues. That improvement did not, however, translate into higher scores on tests of intelligence and multitasking, the researchers report in the May Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Redick’s investigation is part of a growing scientific debate about brain training, which is promoted by some companies as having a variety of mental benefits. Some researchers say that extensive instruction and training on memory tasks can indeed fortify reasoning and problem solving. Others are skeptical th

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