Photo: Department of Psychology, University of Michigan
Brain games for children have recently exploded into a $300 million software market. This trendy industry got another boost this week when a major study found that brain games really do make kids smarter.Psychologist Susanne Jaeggi at the University of Michigan found that training children to hold a cluster of items in their memory can have lasting benefits.
32 elementary and middle school children went though a monthlong regimen of computer games that tested and challenged their working memory. The so-called “n-back test” forced kids to remember a sequence and answer questions about it over time.
Another 30 worked on answering general knowledge and vocabulary questions.
After several months of training, the children who improved most at the “n-back test” were the highest performers on a test of abstract reasoning. Thus the researchers concluded that for some children, brain training games were more effective than any teaching method: “Cognitive training can be effective and long-lasting, but that there are limiting factors that must be considered to evaluate the effects of this training, one of which is individual differences in training performance.”
IIf your kid enjoys brain training games, then they really are making her smarter. If she doesn’t enjoy them, however, then parents should save their money.
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