You’ve probably seen the advertisements for applications that claim to help you “work out” your mind—brain training has become fairly popular.
But is there anything to it? Could playing games on your phone or tablet really help in your day-to-day life? Can you really improve study skills with games?
When you choose to complete your continuing education units through home study, you are taking a risk. Some students find they struggle without the support and structure of a more traditional classroom environment. There are fairly obvious steps to take, such as making sure you have time to study regularly, a quiet environment, the right tools, and so on. However, if you have all of those things in place but are still having problems, brain training games may be helpful.
“Fluid intelligence” is a term used by psychologists to describe a person’s ability to solve problems, identify relationships and think logically in new situations. It is usually thought of as natural ability and does not depend on previous education or acquired skills.
While evidence regarding whether brain training games improve fluid intelligence is mixed, there are some techniques that have been proven. For instance, visualization has long been used by athletes and other professionals as a cognitive process to improve the mind-body connection, making it an especially useful tool for learning to perform physical tasks such as a new massage technique. Some brain training games may help you learn how to use visualization as a learning technique.
What’s in a game
Brain training games usually focus on the following brain functions:
- Memory (there are several parts to memory, including encoding, storing and recalling information)
- Executive function (planning, strategizing and adapting)
- Reaction time
- Processing time
Each of these areas can be important when it comes to successfully completing a home study course—as well as in working as a professional massage therapist on a daily basis. The issue that some researchers take with brain training games is that it has not yet been proven that the gains can be generalized. In other words, there is a chance that you could improve your processing time within a certain game but not in real-world situations.
The question posed at the beginning of this article remains: Can brain training games help you become a better studier? The answer is maybe. You probably should not rush to spend a lot of money on brain training, nor should you sacrifice study time to brain training. However, if you are going to play a game while you wait for your next appointment, why not make it a game that has some potential to help?