Brain games don't make you smarter: Western University research

Brain games don't offer any brain gains. That's a key finding from a new study by a team of neuroscientists at Western University.

Researchers at Western University have found no evidence that brain games offer brain gains

Brain research at Western University confirms brain games, designed to make you smarter, don't. (Cindee Madison and Susan Landau/UC Berkeley)

Brain games don't offer any brain gains. That's a key finding from a new study by a team of neuroscientists at Western University. 

The study looked at brain training applications that were widely promoted as positive influencers for the brain, including whether they can improve working memory or offer any cognitive benefit. The results were a resounding no. 

"There's no evidence that there is [any cognitive benefit]," said Bobby Stojanoski, a research scientist in the Owen Lab at the university's Brain and Mind Institute and lead author of the paper. 
Bobby Stojanoski is a research scientist at Western University. (Kerry McKee/CBC)

"Despite all of our efforts to find some evidence that brain training could make you smarter, we couldn't find any," he added.

Stojanoski doesn't have a problem with people playing so-called brain training games. "But, don't expect the game to make you smarter," he said.  

Diet and exercise

Stojanoski does have suggestions for people who want to strive for brain gains. 

"A lot of new research shows things like exercise, a healthy diet and socializing with friends all help improve and maintain your cognitive health," he said.

Getting enough sleep is also important, according to Stojanoski. 

These tips can not only improve cognitive health, he said, they can also delay cognitive decline such as dementia.