Playing brain games make may not make you any smarter, say scientists who found that such games fail to improve mental abilities or help prevent age-related cognitive decline, a new study has found. Researchers from Florida State University in the US, set up one group of people to play a specially designed brain- training video game called "Mind Frontiers." Another group of players performed crossword games or number puzzles.
All players were given lots of information they needed to juggle to solve problems. Researchers then tested whether the games enhanced players' working memory and consequently improved other mental abilities, such as reasoning, memory and processing speed. The theory behind many brain games is that if you improve overall working memory - which is fundamental to so much of what we do every day - then you can enhance performance in many areas of your life, researchers said. The team examined whether improving working memory would translate to better performance on other tasks. "It is possible to train people to become very good at tasks that you would normally consider general working memory tasks such as memorising 70, 80, even 100 digits," said Neil Charness, professor at Florida State University. "But these skills tend to be very specific and not show a lot of transfer," said Charness. "The thing that seniors in particular should be concerned about is, if I can get very good at crossword puzzles, is that going to help me remember where my keys are? And the answer is probably no," he said. "Our findings and previous studies confirm there is very little evidence these types of games can improve your life in a meaningful way," said Wally Boot from Florida State University. The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Ageing Neuroscience.