Description: There are ways to shape intelligence through brain exercise games. While some are skeptical, others have no doubts about using games to boost their IQ.
The reality of virtual entertainment is getting to everyone. Especially to children. That’s why the argument about its benefits and downsides gets only sharper. Are the good things what we really want them to be? While researchers can’t arrive at a consensus, society is split apart. This conflict generates misunderstanding and wrong assumptions. And it’s good that people are eager to discuss it. Both in blogs online and during in-person meetings offline. Some believe that so-called games for your brain are a waste of time and money. Others disagree and insist that positive effects are sufficient arguments proved in numerous tests. Let’s take a look at assumptions based on something more solid than kitchen talks.
Praying on Our Fears
Everyone has heard about the scandal with the online toy called Lumosity. Developed by Lumos Labs, it had a bright marketing campaign. It literally promised a cure for Alzheimer’s and other mental deficiencies. This straightforward and groundless claim was taken as the fundamental truth by some consumers. Guess what happened next? The deceived customers filed a complaint against the developer. Surprisingly, the Federal Trade Commission took the aggrieved party’s side. And forced Lumos Labs to pay out $2 million to settle the charges.
Placebo Effect Only
We may force our bodies to heal better by taking inactive meds (unknowingly). It’s a proven fact, but what if the same happens with gaming? Psychologists from George Mason University conducted an experiment to back the idea. One group of participants believed they took part in an ordinary study. While others were told it’s research on “brain training and cognitive enhancement”. After an hour of memory-boosting activities, the IQ of the latter went up. The first group’s results remained flat.
Waste of Time and Money
Some experts are so critical about it that they urge people to ignore virtual entertainment. They believe it’ll save your time for something more effective to stimulate your IQ. For example, for a regular walk or exercise. Rather than expecting a miracle from a simple digital toy, shake up with real training. An inactive lifestyle negatively affects mental abilities. It leads to brain deterioration, and that’s what anyone can feel. As for video adventures, these are only suppositions.
So what, we shall put gaming on the ban list due to:
- unscrupulous marketing,
- naive gullibility,
- and opinions without proof?
Of course not. Let’s dig a bit deeper to see the rest of the truth.
The Most Creative Way to Strengthen Your Mind
A Bit of Terminology
It’s true, cognitive abilities are partially predetermined by genetics. However, the environmental factor is more important. Most people can boost their IQ gifted to them by nature. With learning, training, and hard work everything is possible. In this regard, scientists can measure our cognitive potential based on 2 components:
- Crystallized intelligence (factual knowledge)
- Fluid intelligence (memory, processing speed, abstract thinking, problem-solving)
Check out this article to learn more.
There is no doubt that the first element is the foundation of any smart title. Such as quizzes, memory adventures, crosswords, etc. Users learn real facts that are of use in real life. This alone expands one’s scope.
As for the second component, there are no 100% arguments like “play to be advanced”. Or “spend hours online to think faster”. However, some well-controlled studies speak of numerous positive sides that come along with gaming.
Tons of Advantages
A group of psychologists (including Adam Eichenbaum) published a strong scientific report not long ago. Its power is in its scientific-only approach, based on logic, numbers, and studies. The report shows that video entertainment teaches us to better identify patterns. Thus nurturing our fluid intelligence along with the crystallized one. Players respond quicker, have better cognitive potential, and are more focused. Additionally, it makes our minds flexible, increases multitasking skills, and helps us achieve higher IQ.
But this booster has wider applicability and is more universal than we think:
- It helps delay, avoid, or better deal with Alzheimer’s
- It cures amblyopia (lazy eye)
- It’s effective when having dyslexia problems
- It’s vital for job-relating training (pilots, surgeons, etc.)
Do you still have doubts about using video games to increase IQ? This is what other abilities improve when we solve virtual tasks:
- Focus and attention
- Control and flexibility
- Analytical skills
- General knowledge
All this taken as a whole leads to positive effects on our cognitive abilities.
Top Free Games for Your Brain
What types of adventures really work? There are logic-driven puzzles, riddles, mazes, crosswords, math-based Sudoku, and other strategic options. Check out the following list of the best titles to start with. Whatever you choose, you’ll surely get something more than aimless shooting and running around:
A minimalistic design, simple concept, and highly hooking content. Move the tiles with numbers, merge identical ones and get 2048 in total to win. For this, avoid rash decisions and predict the consequences of each step you make. It’s challenging and literally glues you to the screen.
It’s classics in a digital format with thousands of rounds of any difficulty. There are 5 levels, with Easy for newcomers and Evil for advanced players. A convenient feature is a button to check the answers automatically. Just click the right number and see if it’s correct right away.
Another creative way to set your mind racing and nurture outside-the-box thinking. Get a word when it’s your turn and draw it. Or guess what your opponent is frantically trying to depict. Learn new words and how to use the language of arts to describe them. It’s both fun and educational. Enjoy the cool title to make imagination your strength.
What can you do with 4 fundamental elements: air, earth, fire, and water? In this digital laboratory, absolutely anything. From stones to oases, from fire to volcanoes, from mud to cities. Explore different combinations and try to create a dinosaur!
Clicking the same tiles may sound like a piece of cake. But it’s not when it’s Mahjong. The website contains different adventures to choose from. Go for any design with fruits, cards, sweets, hieroglyphics, etc. And adjust the difficulty to make it match your abilities.
Of course, there are many other titles. Among which is a Jigsaw genre, a perfect brain-sharpening activity. Here are some arguments showing why it’s one of the most useful digital entertainment options.
Banning Time in the Virtual is a Mistake
Digital reality is what our world is built on. We can’t live without it. Just like hunters couldn’t do without spikes and arrows so many centuries ago.
The older generation is suspicious about this new technology. Most of us have witnessed this transition from physical to virtual. And we still take it as something new. Kids, on the contrary, know no other life. It’s natural for them to dive into it to the fullest. They socialize, learn and have fun online. Don’t take away this opportunity to become smarter, more communicative, and better prepared.
By the way, why does no one limit book reading? A child may spend days in self-isolation, without social interaction. It sounds worse than gaming, so why isn’t anyone afraid it’ll lead to problems?
Books have been with us since the 15th century. While computer-driven technology is something fresh. It developed into the form we know it only in the 21st century. We just need time to digest such a change.
Freedom of Choice
Give your kids a right to decide what to do in their free time. And respect their decision. This kind of choice alone has the potential to give them more than schools. They engage in something that really matters to them. It means they soak up information better than boring rules imposed by teachers.
And if you really want your child to have less computer time, do something together. It should be something exciting and engaging. Visit a zoo, start a tennis match, go for a walk in the park… But never ban this exciting digital world entirely.
Evil or Good?
Shall one expect to train cognitive abilities through such fun training? It’s not a magical pill. The effect will solely depend on your desire and the effort you put into it. Here are some tips to make brain exercise games effective:
- Turn it into a habit. Jump into a mental workout every day to improve and fix your achievements.
- Welcome a challenge. Don’t stay on the same level. Otherwise, you’ll get used to something simple, and your intelligence will start deteriorating.
- Be picky about the content. Don’t opt for something obviously dull.
- Never underestimate the socializing part. Chat through in-built messengers, discuss interesting topics and open your mind to new ideas.
In any case, no one argues that computer titles are entertaining. If you don’t care about an opportunity to raise IQ, at least play for fun.