Go to main content
BPS News

Brain training may be harmful to some aspects of memory performance

29 November 2016

Much attention has been focused recently on whether brain training programmes have the far-reaching benefits claimed by their commercial purveyors.

Brain training usually involves completing exercises on computer to strengthen your working memory – essentially your ability to hold in mind and process multiple items of information at once (“cognitive training” would be a more apt name).

The argument put forward by brain-training companiesis that working memory is such a fundamental mental process that if you boost your working memory capacity through training, then you will experience wide-ranging benefits, even in ostensibly unrelated activities, such as in your performance at work.

But a comprehensive review published earlier this year concluded that there is in fact inadequate evidence to justify such bold claims. And a new study discussed on our Research Digest blog has even worse news for brain training enthusiasts: compared to control conditions, working memory training was actually found to worsen performance on a test of recognition memory.


Top of page