We baby boomers CAN stay mentally sharp
and keep our brains healthy as we grow older.

Here's how to do it.

Lumosity Brain Training Program

 

Lumosity brain training programBrain training is becoming a popular way to boost your brain performance. Just as you need to exercise your body to stay healthy, the right kind of mental exercise can help your brain stay healthy too.

The Lumosity brain training system is an online program that leads you through a customized series of “brain games” designed to improve your memory, focus and other mental abilities. It is widely considered the best online program of its kind. But does it live up to this kind of hype? Let’s take a look at what Lumosity is all about.

If you aren’t familiar with brain training, you can learn more about the benefits of brain training here.

The Company Behind the Product

Lumosity is the brain child of Lumos Labs, a research and development company.The company’s website cites an impressive list of scientific collaborators and board members associated with prestigious universities such as Stanford, University of California-San Francisco, UC-Berkeley, and Harvard.

Lumos partners with several major health insurance providers such as Humana, Medi-CareFirst/Blue Cross Blue Shield and Touchstone Health. It works with assisted living facilities to make brain training available to residents. According to Forbes magazine, Lumos has received a U.S. Navy grant to study how brain training could help military personnel. 

Lumosity app for smartphonesThe company is growing – it claims that its subscriber base has increased from 11 million in February 2011 to over 20 million a year later. Its mobile app Brain Trainer has been #1 in the Apple iTunes store.

In short, this is a company that has a solid foundation of expertise. It’s not going away and will likely continue to expand.

What Benefits Can You Expect?

Lumosity claims its users can experience these benefits:

  • Memory – remembering names, finding misplaced objects, learning new material
  • Attention – avoiding distractions, maintaining focus, increasing productivity
  • Speed – making decisions quickly, adapting to change
  • Flexibility – thinking creatively, communicating clearly
  • Problem solving – mentally calculating figures, making accurate estimations

My Free Trial Experience

The first thing I liked about the training site was that it has a nice, light airy feel about it. It almost looks like it’s designed for kids. So far, so good! But I didn’t like that I couldn’t get into the site in any meaningful way without taking a questionnaire and signing up for a free trial first. I also didn’t like that they won’t let you see the prices, either. :-?

A customized plan was generated from my responses. Then I could see what games are offered. The free trial gave me access to only some of the games available to paying members.

Here’s a screen shot of one of the games I played called “Lost in Migration”. The goal is to track the constantly changing direction of the middle bird. All of the games have this kind of simple, clean look.

screenshot of Lost in Migration game

For the first minute or so, it seemed too easy, but then got progressively harder. I wondered if I’d get bored with the games, and eventually, I did. I can’t see playing the same 3 dozen games indefinitely. If you are at all competitive, you’ll be trying hard to beat your last scores, and that might keep your interest level up.

What Others Say About Their Experience

There are more than 150,000 Likes on Facebook, so this product clearly has a huge and happy following. The user demographic is surprisingly young, with most users falling in the 25-34 year age bracket. Definitely not your grandma’s neighborhood!

I don’t put much stock in testimonials on a vendor’s website. Instead, I look for user feedback on third party sites. These were pretty typical of the comments I found from actual users:

I feel more focused and more able to stick to tasks, as well as switch quickly between tasks if need be.
Tony Hoffman – Editor, PCMag.com

I think of it as the gym for my brain and it really does improve brain health and performance. The games are fun and it is really cool to see how you progress over time and…to see how you compare against others in your age group.
Dror Bekerman – DBPMarketing.com

I’m sharper, confident & love even more of a day to day challenge. Everyday I’m increasing my scores and trying new games. So grateful!
Karleen – Facebook

Being retired, I have to find ways to stimulate those parts of my brain that no longer get stimulated. Lumosity does the trick. I think it is a good way to encourage everyone to keep your brain healthy and alive.
Mona Lisa – Viewpoints.com

However, I also found several complaints, mostly from people saying the games got boring or that they had unresolved billing issues.

How to Get the Best Deal

You won’t be able to see their prices until you’ve signed up for a free trial. But you won’t have to live in suspense anymore – I’ve listed the prices below.

  • $14.95 per month, pay as you go
  • $6.70 per month, for one full year paid as one payment (most popular choice)
  • $4.99 per month, for two full years paid as one payment
  • $299.95 lifetime membership

Until you know you like it and think you’ll stick with it, I’d start with the $14.95 option. Some people have expressed having trouble getting a refund if they’ve signed up for a year and changed their mind. You can buy Lumosity or sign up for a free trial here.

The Bottom Line

Lumosity could be helpful for those who want to improve their memory and ability to focus, but its target audience is people under 35, a group that is least affected by cognitive issues. I think many of their customers consider this a “good for you” way to play video games rather than for genuine brain enhancement.

  • I’m impressed with Lumos Labs, the company behind the product. It is well established, reputable, and growing.
  • Lumosity claims to automatically increase the level of difficulty as you progress. However, don’t expect to not get bored playing the same group of games.
  • Lumosity’s average user is in their 20′s or 30′s. If this isn’t your age group, I suggest you check out either Anti-Aging Games or Dakim BrainFitness instead.
  • Not everyone is enthralled with the idea of playing onlines games. Some people aren’t computer savvy enough, while others already feel they spend too much time on the computer. If you feel your brain needs more  stimulation you might prefer offline memory games or real world activities, like studying a foreign language, instead. You can also improve your brain with brainwave entrainment. This could boost your brain but without the work!

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2 Responses to “Lumosity Brain Training Program”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Doug B. says:

    I want to add my impressions of the Lumosity experience from my vantage point, as someone who has experimented and been an off and on paying member.

    I didn’t know the average age of users, I’m 46. Why should I care that there are less members in my age group than younger people? They are made to be games; some feature monkeys or monsters, others are more like capturing photos in the field for the audubon society. They have helped me, at least temporarily, and enough to consider testing for longer term benefits. Two words came to my mind upon reading the age group comment – Ageist and (for purpose of) Biased influence. How is another site better suited for brain decline issues, or my age group ? This wasn’t supported here. Sure, I’ll check out others eventually. That needed to be addressed.

    My experience with Lumosity: I completed the trial membership and, as smart marketing would have it, (and an intriguing product) I wanted more when it ended. I then settled for the few remaining free games, which kept me motivated to improve, but engaged fewer areas of mind functioning. It’s just hard to change one thing without accommodating / supporting other areas. Such is life. The trial shows you what it’s like, but it took longer to encounter the evidence, about two months in my case (not bad). I wanted it to work but considered- this may be deceptive marketing strategy. I have had my performance plateaus and temporary fall backs with these games- yes it did keep me going and determined to improve, a mutual benefit. I’d like many of them to be more interesting to look at, but I keep the functionality in mind. I also was willing to risk fifteen dollars (twice now) and fifteen or so minutes a day ( I hit “play again” if I was falling back) to potentially improve my effectiveness in “real world” performance. I started a new job after less than two months of using the program. That’s when I noticed that for the first time in my life, I remembered most peoples names I had met on the phone, in another interview, and in my training class- (names and I,- bad. It’s shameful) That’s what I was looking for. I was also wanting an easier time with other activities while under stress and when multi tasking, communicating, decision making; that’s harder to gauge and I have been training by the month intermittently. Time will tell. My Lumosity scores, when I played, fell back accordingly when losing sleep, as should be expected. I’m about to activate another month.

    Now it just so happens, and for what my word is worth to a stranger- I give it to you- I have been experimenting with sound frequency brainwave entrainment, which this article suggests or is paid to post.
    - I want to mention that sound entrainment is a helper in achieving levels of awareness, but to compare it to self actualized, or guided deep theta state, – that is: actual meditation, is like comparing a hot dog to prime rib. Fast food and training wheels are great bridges to encourage the reluctant, but learning to take yourself through levels of consciousness is a priceless skill, and simply more effective when going truly “deep” – and, it’s just not that difficult. Be willing to apply a little effort, set aside less than an hour of time and open to thinking differently to expand your world. It’s worth it and can be used toward a variety of goals, and sometimes unexpected benefits.

    So- Lumosity
    -It is a very valuable resource. One good option among others I am sure.
    -yea, the pricing and bulk pay requirement – that “bites” — I told them so.
    - It, or something like it, is very helpful in case of prolonged time of reduced activity, depression, etc
    - I suggest it, or something like it, if you need to compete or improve performance. Since it isn’t always obvious to ones’ self, assume that you do.

    • Deane Alban says:

      Hi Doug, Thank you for sharing your experience with Lumosity. You can read more about my experiences with a variety of brain training programs and why they are age-group dependent here – Brain Training Programs Compared – Which Is Right for You? Most of these games are designed with different age groups in mind. I’ve tested all of these and there are some huge differences for ones designed for seniors. For example, Dakim has cultural references woven into the program some of which I barely got because they are before my time!

      I like your comparison about BWE to meditation as hot dogs to prime rib! Many people enjoy the journey and the process of meditation, but some people need/want results fast and that is where BWE is useful. Some may use it as a stepping stone for traditional meditation whereas others like the using technology and aren’t into the spiritual aspect. I’ve done both for decades and have found at different times in my life I prefer one to the other.

      It’s interesting that your Lumosity scores fell back when you didn’t get enough sleep. As you wisely point out that’s to be expected. Not getting enough sleep is harder on the brain than most people realize.

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We baby boomers CAN stay mentally sharp
and keep our brains healthy as we grow older.

Here's how to do it.