What is Brain Age?
Brain Age: Concentration Training is a game for Nintendo 3DS that uses math and logic activities to exercise working memory and fluid intelligence – the ability to address new situations and solve problems in the moment.
Brain Age first brought brain-training games into the mainstream in 2005 with Brain Age and Brain Age 2, both for Nintendo DS . The latest version uses a new “Devilish Training” strategy that claims to improve brain function and increase focus.
How does Brain Age work?
Nintendo recommends training for five or more minutes each day using one or more of the eight main types of games: Devilish Calculations, Devilish Pairs, Devilish Mice, Devilish Reading, Devilish Shapes, Devilish Blocks, Devilish Cups, and Devilish Listening. One Devilish Pairs activity asks users to flip over face-down cards to find pairs with the same number from 1-90.
Users can only play each type of game once daily to prevent over training. Difficulty levels change in real time based on correct and incorrect answers.
Included are various supplemental games, some from previous versions of Brain Age, that range from speed-training in math and writing to mahjong and card games. There is also a relaxation mode that’s music and matching color games are designed to rest the mind after training.
Players can interact with and compete against other users who are in close proximity. Players receive certificates and awards for training multiple days in a row or setting new records.
Who is Brain Age for?
The Entertainment Software Board rates Brain Age: Concentration Training E, for everyone. Parents should restrict 3D mode for children under age six.
How much does Brain Age cost?
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price of Brain Age: Concentration Training is $29.99. Actual prices in-store may vary. Players must have a Nintendo 3DS hand-held console ($199.99) to play.
What studies have been done on Brain Age?
The Brain Age and Brain Age 2 cognitive training programs were based on neuroscientist Dr. Ryuta Kawashima’s 2003 book of puzzles and math exercises. Two small studies, conducted by Kawashima and his colleagues, concluded that people who played Brain Age experienced greater improvement in processing speed and executive function when compared with people who played Tetris for the same period. The studies did not document improvement in attention, memory, or cognitive status.
On the Brain Age: Concentration Training site, Nintendo describes a comparison of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) tests before and after training with Brain Age. These tests showed the volume of the cerebral cortex, the portion of the brain associated with intelligence, increased within two months of regular game use. The study is not referenced, but these images may refer to Takeuchi’s work on working memory training.
In 2014, a group of researchers gathered and evaluated the scientific research on various brain training programs – including Brain Age. It found that, while there is some evidence Brain Age could improve cognition within the game’s exercises, most studies have not analyzed if these benefits translate to real-life activities outside the game.
Many researchers continue to debate the ability of brain training games to significantly improve cognitive abilities.
Where can I learn more about Brain Age?
Learn more at brainage.nintendo.com.