What science says about the exercises to “get in shape our brain”?

Health and Fitness

Sometimes it seems that everyone wants to become more intelligent. It is normal, scientists who study intelligence tell us that is the best predictor of success we have: predict school grades, the workplace, socioeconomic status, the beauty of our partner, etc. It is something, as we see, extremely juicy. Especially if it comes packaged in a convenient app as they do Lumosity, Cogmed or BrainHQ.

What a shame it is useless. Because, and I promise I’ll try to be as gentle, wise and conciliatory as possible, it seems that the industry ‘brain training’ (an industry of more than a billion dollars ) is a huge, colossal bluff.

Nor did I ask both

Fausto did not want to talk about, but I will not be helped. Like you do not know. Fausto had been our Michael Jordan, Albert Einstein or our our Justin Bieber. A great guy, bright and waving in the elevator. A ten. You can think of the smartest person that you know, someone who was twelve years old is able to recite Joyce’s Ulysses memory, someone who solves the equations of string theory as if they were sudokus. Does not matter… Imagine well!

Because I want when I say that Fausto would look like an idiot child, you understand it literally. Fausto is not that he was endowed, it is that was the gift itself. Everything he did: quantum physics, dance, dead Semitic languages, everything. Everything came to him naturally, as we breathe.

Get in shape our brain

Image Source: Google Image

For much of his life, his only goal was to learn more; better to know; learn more deeply the mysteries of reality and the universe. But it was not easy. In fact, it was so hard that, as Isaac Newton, first studied all the science of his time , and then turned to magic, alchemy and mystery ships. And seeing that nothing worked, nothing filled her hunger, bothered a bit. Almost he despaired. Until someone offered him a deal. Call him Mephistopheles, call it ‘brain training’. A covenant in which, nor do I want to do spoilers, could only lose.

The devil is written with g

I am convinced that if Goethe were to write Faust, Mephistopheles (one of the coaches pokémons Lucifer) would be health visitor. And what you sell Faust would be a revolutionary gene therapy would do such amazing superman Nietzche would dream up to the bitumen.

Yes, the book would be just as controversial because, after all, intelligence is extremely controversial . A lot. And its heritability further. For some strange reason it seems reasonable to say that someone is a good athlete because it has a good genetics, but instead it is unreasonable to say that someone is smart because it runs in the family.

It does not matter that intelligence (g factor) is one of the most solid scientific discoveries in history.Whether you know, black on white, that same intelligence has a very high heritability. Whether you explain that does not have a unique sociopolitical reading because, in short, science is not about values but facts. It does not matter all that. If someone speaks of intelligence aloud eyebrows arch. It is a universal law at the same level as that of Godwin or Murphy.

However, despite all the susceptibilities, it seems that there are many people who want to be smarter. Or what is the same, there is a very important market (aka a lot of money) customers who want to improve their basic (and not so basic) cognitive capacity.

Is that possible?

From what we know so far, no. There is no solid scientific evidence that says ‘mental training’ serve for something . In 2013, the New Yorker published a piece in which already warned that this was a pantomime. On October 20, 2014, 75 scientists coordinated by Stanford University and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development published a statement summarizing the scientific consensus on mental training industry.

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The text of the statement was, in itself, quite clear. He said that “the scientific literature does not support the claims that the use of software based on mind games alters neuronal function so that improve overall cognitive performance in everyday (or prevent cognitive slowing brain disease or life)”.

However, some studies claimed that improvements occurred in fluid intelligence and several meta -analyzes confirmed that these improvements there. How is that possible? Fundamentally methodological problems ; derivatives extend checks scientists today cannot afford. There is so little confidence in these studies that many lists of experiments to repeat the lie in his head. And when attempting to replicate is not achieved (or the third).

The industry more than dubious mental training

To be lenient. The industry has been associated with numerous shady problems for years. Problems ranging from bad science misleading advertising.

Earlier this year, Lumosity (one of the leading companies in the sector) agreed to pay $2 million for misleading advertising. According to the Federal Trade Commission USA, Lumosity (and by extension many of these companies) took advantage of the fear of cognitive decline to sell a product that simply did not work.

And, with more or less care, that it has been the modus operandi of large companies mental training: exploit fear. The fear of not being good enough, not toachieve our dreams. The fear that the age will finally break us , that on the horizon of old age stop being what we are. But fear, as in the case of Faust, is not a good advisor when making decisions.

Written by Alex

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