Brain 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 brain exercise can help your mind 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, read our comparative review of four different brain training programs.
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.
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The company is growing — it claims that its subscriber base has increased from 11 million in February 2011 to over 60 million in mid-2014. There is also a mobile app with both free and paid version a 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 before you get started, either.
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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.
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 few dozen games indefinitely. If you are at all competitive, you’ll be trying hard to beat your last scores, and that might help keep your interest level up.
What Others Say About Their Experience
Judging by its more than 1,800,000 Likes on Facebook, this product has a huge, engaged following. The user demographic is young, with most users falling in the 25-34 year age bracket. Definitely not your grandma’s brain training games!
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.
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 more than for serious cognitive enhancement.
- Lumos Labs, the company behind the product, 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 Anti-Aging Games 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 real world activities, like studying a foreign language or taking an art class instead. You can also improve your brain with brainwave entrainment. This could boost your brain but without the work!