A new study indicates that the folks at Lumosity aren’t kidding when they refer to their program as “serious brain training;” newest research is backing them up.
Psychologist Konrad Kording of Northwestern University Rehab Institute of Chicago teamed up with Kunlin Wei at Peking University of Beijing to see if playing computer games can translate into greater dexterity in other fine motor skills.
A 2011 study revealed that surfing the Internet is changing the way we think — these changes are referred to as the “Google effect;”however, prior to the current study, there has been relatively little research on the way computer usage enhances fine motor skills.
Participants fell into one of three categories: Chinese migrant workers who had no computer experience, migrant workers who had some computer experience through a job, or college students who were computer proficient.
For two weeks, they had participants play computer games using a mouse. As would be expected, at the beginning of the study those who were computer savvy were much more adept than the other two groups.
But here’s where it gets interesting (and exciting): after only two weeks of playing the games, those who had no computer training were just as good with the mouse as the college students. Not only that, they were able to apply their newly honed ability to other fine motor skills.
Although I got sidetracked from the holiday season and the loss of a family member, I plan to jump start my Lumosity training; I’ve found that using the program as a “warm-up” before I begin working not only improves my fine motor skills, it facilitates brain dexterity. Words come more easily, I’m more creative and focused — and I enjoy my work more.
Other tricks to keep our brains as agile as possible:
- Vigorous exercise — numerous studies have shown a link between exercising vigorously most days of the week and brain agility
- Maintaining stable blood sugar levels — try keeping some small bags of almonds handy. They have the perfect combination of protein and “good fat” — they work just as well and as fast as drinking a cup of coffee, but without the inevitable crash that comes after a caffeine or sugar high.
- Proper nutrition — Many of us are probably feeling pretty sluggish from overindulgence that accompanied the holiday season. Nourishing our bodies with whole foods, lots of nuts, fruits, vegetables and whole grains not only keeps our bodies healthy, it also improves cognition.