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Is Playing games as in Lumosity.com really effective. Can that boost my attention span, concentration skills? How else can it benefit me?

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see also this related question cogsci.stackexchange.com/questions/1705/… –  Jeromy Anglim Jan 16 '13 at 6:11
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I have tracked my own progress daily on a bunch of different games (jigzone, crosswords, etc.)
Over 6 weeks - not much difference at all. Over 2 years, big difference, doubling of scores and it feels like it's transferring, as subjective as that is. I feel like I'm starting to be able to learn new things better and quicker and easier. But like I said. 2 years. The first 6 months were really good. The next 6 I plateaued a bit, then in the 2nd year, improvement (rate) picking up again. The key I also find is variety. I also like Nintendo's various Brain Age apps which are fun. and fun is key to keeping it up for the long term!

Not to mention my daily SO "training" ;)

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You got beeter in playing those games, but did you get better in real life activities, such as remembering all the work you have to do in your mind without noting it down in your mobile's calender or to-do list. OR remembering names of people after having met only once or twice? –  user221287 May 6 '12 at 7:41
    
or other things like that requiring concentration, attention, memory - can you give examples as to where it has helped you with real life activities? –  user221287 May 6 '12 at 7:41
    
It's hard to be specifc, much of it is a 'feeling' but... you have helped me by reminding me (no pun) that yes, I used to use to-do lists a lot but now I remember stuff that is 2 or 3 hours out, whereas before I was forgetting that stuff a lot. –  Michael Durrant May 6 '12 at 15:14
    
The other thing is that I've also learned so many techniques to help me that whether it's better memory or better use of memory techniques I am just 'better' at some memory stuff - but again, to give an example, with people names, I 'say three times', 'touch them' (i.e. handshake), 'write it down within the hour', etc. –  Michael Durrant May 6 '12 at 15:16
    
If you look at the folks who do memory competitions they'll tell you it's all about techniques and practices rather than just having 'better memory'. They feel their memory is similar to others. They still lock their keys in the car. –  Michael Durrant May 6 '12 at 15:17
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Hmm... It's certainly got a lot more going for it than normal "Improve-you-Brain!" promises - they've embraced science as a marketing tool http://www.lumosity.com/documents/the_science_behind_lumosity.pdf talks about control groups and p values and that's very nice...

Your best bet for information is Nature - who we can consider to be pretty authoritative on most things. In http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v465/n7299/full/nature09042.html?lang=en they go into the problem of 'brain training' in detail (not lumosity in particular, but all similar sites) and conclude.

Here we report the results of a six-week online study in which 11,430 participants trained several times each week on cognitive tasks designed to improve reasoning, memory, planning, visuospatial skills and attention. Although improvements were observed in every one of the cognitive tasks that were trained, no evidence was found for transfer effects to untrained tasks, even when those tasks were cognitively closely related.

Or to put it another way - people get better at playing the games, but this doesn't make any different to the rest of their life.

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