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Photos: ERIC YOUNGHANS | USF Health

Training the

A PHOTOS: Jerri Edwards shows the Double Decision exercise, part of the Posit Science BrainHQ cognitive training program. As the game speeds up, users have to distinquish between more distractors in the periphery and finding the Routh 66 sign becomes more challenging.

36 UNIVERSITY of SOUTH FLORIDA

Brain

dvertisements tout brain training games designed to pump up your mental fitness and prevent cognitive decline. They target anxious, aging baby boomers striving to maintain their mental edge. Claims that brain training prevented dementia, however, were “devoid” of scientific evidence, according to a sharply worded letter that began at Stanford University and was signed by more than 70 academics in 2014. Earlier this year the company behind the brain game program Lumosity agreed to pay $2 million to settle Federal Trade Commission deceptive advertising charges. There was another side to this story, however. USF Associate Professor Jerri Edwards and others who had studied brain training for years, pushed back with a letter asserting that well-designed training does work. “I knew it worked,” Edwards says. “I’d seen it work.”

USF magazine fall 2016  

The official magazine of the University of South Florida Alumni Association

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