5 Must-Have Features for Your Brain Training Program
New Year’s Day is a sacred self-proclaimed starting date for healthier habits. And this year, you have decided your brain health matters. Brain health drives our ability to concentrate, problem-solve, and be creative. It is an important, but often overlooked, component of success. The brain fitness industry is a fast growing business, and new brain training programs appear every day, either online or on smartphones. They claim to improve your brain health, but how many of them really work?
Here are 5 features you should consider before purchasing your next brain training program:
1. Scientifically validated – Although there are many brain training programs available, very few actually have research to back up their claims. Most brain games companies claim that their games are “based on science”, which is a very elusive and misleading marketing term. You should always check that the app has a solid scientific validation and has been validated in peer-reviewed scientific research.
2. Capture your unique cognitive profile – Research shows that to provide you with an effective brain fitness program, the brain training regimen needs to be personalized to match your unique cognitive needs. Unlike physical activity, you cannot discern on your own what you want to improve. Consequently, your brain fitness program must start with a baseline assessment of your unique cognitive profile before your training even begins. Training without a prior assessment is ineffective.
3. Personalize your training regimen – Using your assessment and your ongoing performance, the program should be designed to build the optimal brain training regimen that matches your unique cognitive needs. Some programs lacking assessments claim they are “personalized”, but this generally refers to the fact that your training sessions will include your most highly rated games. Such “personalization” is not effective because people tend to highly rate games that are easy for them, so they naturally avoid the most challenging brain games.
4. Adapt the regimen to your goals – Some programs will allow you to choose your level of difficulty level as you go. However, you will have much better results if you use a brain-training program that comes with an independent and objective assessment of your performance level which indicates that you are ready for more challenging tasks.
5. Provide a comprehensive workout – Since you need your brain training program to tell you what skills need to be improved, make sure the brain fitness program includes a wide range of cognitive skills that you use daily such as memory, attention, perception, and coordination.