Experts are always reminding us of the importance of keeping our minds in shape. To achieve this, you can try puzzles or other types of logic games. You may even want to experiment with brain training apps to see if it helps.
Here is a selection of the best brain-training apps meant to improve your mental agility.
Can Brain-Training Apps Really Help Boost Your Mental Capacity?
While the scientific community has yet to come to a consensus regarding brain training apps, a recent analysis published by Scientific American in September 2020 cites evidence that short-term working memory training can provide benefits to relatively high-functioning individuals, such as college students.
When it comes to vision training, it’s been suggested that even elite athletes can benefit. Nevertheless, whether one has memory troubles or not, it’s quite likely that, akin to diet or exercise, brain-training will impact individuals in different ways.
While the matter certainly needs further assessment, there’s no denying that brain-training apps can provide countless hours of fun. And if you can get a mental boost in the process, then all the better.
Price: $19.99 – $29.99 per month
CogniFit (Android | iOS) brings a collection of cognitive skills that can assess and train your cognitive skills and brain plasticity. The app offers a wide range of training solutions, including video. It’s been created to help you improve various aspects, including concentration, coordination, memory, reasoning and more.
The only issue here is that CogniFit workouts are all paid. You’ll even have to swipe your card to get an assessment, which is something that might put a few people off. On the other hand, you can use the Practice Lounge and play most of the games available in CogniFit for free but won’t be able to use them as part of a training program and see your progress over time.
Additionally, CogniFit also boasts a mindfulness section where you can meditate towards a certain goal such as beating procrastination. Surprisingly, some of the sessions are free to use.
The Scientific Evidence
CogniFit is recognized by the scientific community and has been verified through a number of studies, which users can view on the official app page. For instance, a pilot study conducted by the Misericordia University has assessed the effects of computer-based cognitive training with CogniFit for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, with trends of improvement in cognitive function being observed for the cognitive training group.
Price: Free / $3.99 per month
NeuroNation (Android | iOS) is a brain training app that has been around for some time. After completing a brief play session to assess your skills, the app creates a personalized brain-training plan for you. You can reportedly improve skills such as memory, concentration, intelligence, and logic, and even reduce stress.
The app features personalized sessions consisting of various exercises and is always adding new ones with its updates. By registering, you can save your progress and compete against other users around the world. NeuroNation also shows you (on a graph) what your strengths and weaknesses are and all the cognitive functions you’re working on.
The app boasts a Premium version that gives users access to 30 exercises on 250 levels, all developed in scientific studies.
The Scientific Evidence
To prove the effectiveness of home-based training, a group of researchers from the Medical School of Hamburg and University of Wuerzburg in Germany worked together on a bulletproof study created around NeuroNation.
The study included 170 participants and concluded that the training group, which used NeuroNation premium for 21 training sessions, succeeded in improving memory and other cognitive functions, such as processing speed.
Price: Free / $8.99 per year
Peak’s (Android | iOS) goal is to improve your language skills, mental agility, focus, memory and more. On top of being packed with countless puzzle games, Peak also benefits from a modern and sleek interface.
The app offers a visual display of how well you did in the exercises. You’ll automatically see where you excel and how you’ve improved your performance over time.
Peak also features a Pro tier that unlocks several extra options, including the ability to create personalized workouts, unlimited access to 43 games (plus some Pro-only games), in-depth insights, and more.
The Scientific Evidence
Like NeuroNation, Peak also provides insight into the science supporting its claims on the official page. For example, research conducted at the University of New York looked at whether Peak games can impact the cognitive functioning and mood of young adults with depressive symptoms.
The study was published in the Journal of Affective Disorders in February 2019. It found that playing Peak games yielded significant improvements in self and clinical-rated depressive severity, everyday functioning and cognition.
Price: Free / $9.99 per month
Elevate (Android | iOS) is another app with a visually-satisfying interface that claims to improve your writing, speaking, reading and everyday math skills.
After giving you a quick test to assess your skills, the app creates a personalized training plan.
Daily workouts include up to three free games, but unlocking the PRO tier will offer access to more games (more than 40), as well as additional materials.
The Scientific Evidence
To validate their claims, the app’s creators list the conclusions of a study on Elevate’s official page. It was conducted at the California State University, which had Elevate users train with the app during a four-week period. After the training period, the Elevate group and a control group took identical pre- and post-tests that consisted of 33 questions covering the skills the app claims to be able to boost. The results revealed that Elevate users improved 69% more than non-users.
Price: Free / $10.99 per month
Memorado (Android | iOS) is a brain-training app that also doubles as a meditation service. It aims to help its users improve things like concentration, memory, speed, and logic.
Based on a preliminary assessment test and your unique set of goals, Memorado comes up with a training plan just for you and invites you to play five games every day – or more if you’re willing to unlock the “Master Programme,” which offers access to all mini-games and mindfulness audio.
As mentioned above, the app includes a library of mindfulness classes which will help you relax, sleep better and feel better overall.
The Scientific Evidence
Helping with the development of Memorado are scientists from University of Hagen / Humboldt-University of Berlin and University of Wuerzburg. The team is currently working on a study that aims to determine when users prefer to train throughout they day and at what time they perform their best. This study also examines whether different types of tasks show different performance patterns.
According to additional Memorado data, using the app will see your brain quotient increase up to 76%.
You may be a bit surprised to find Tetris (Android | iOS) on this list, but the classic game has been ported to mobile and is available for new and old fans alike.
Tetris needs no introduction, but if you’re among the few who haven’t tried it yet, it’s a game where geometric shapes called “tetrominoes” fall down onto a playing field, and the player has to arrange them to form gapless lines. The original video game was created by Soviet software engineer Alexey Pajitnov.
The Scientific Evidence
Over the years, there have been plenty of published studies supporting the use of Tetris as a brain power enhancing tool. We’d like to quote one dating back from 2009. It found that playing Tetris leads to a thicker cortex and may also increase brain efficiency. A structural MRI was used to assess cortical thickness, while a functional MRI was used to assess efficient activity.
7. Brain Wars
Brain Wars (Android | iOS) offers quite a few options when it comes to challenging others during brain-training sessions. Besides providing a great design, it also gives you the option to compete with others around you, around the world or in a particular country.
The mini games offered by this particular app will help you improve your focus, observation, concentration, reactions, and math/geometry skills as well. Brain Wars also shows you an overall image of what parts of your brain you’re working out with the games you’ve played.
There are 30 games you can play inside Brain Wars. The games include color match, math, shape recognition, number memorization, etc., which will definitely sharpen your concentration skills.
The app doesn’t require you to create an account, since you can play as a guest and not give any personal information, but you can create a profile if you want to.
8. Brain Dots & Brain Dots 2
Price: Free / $4.99
With Brain Dots (Android | iOS), you only have one mission: to draw lines and other shapes to get the two colored dots to bump into each other. It seems simple enough, but as you progress, solutions to the levels get more complicated. If you want a hint to know how to pass the level, tap on the light bulb icon at the top right.
While you start by using a pencil, you can level up to drawing tools such as a pen or even a crayon. You will need to use the coins you won after each level to buy the pen or whatever it is you want to use. More levels will be unlocked as you progress, and you’ll have to deal with a few ads here and there unless you pay for an upgrade.
If you really enjoy Brain Dots, known that you can also get Brain Dots 2 (Android | iOS) which comes with even more engaging puzzles and multiple options.
Price: Free / $1.99
1Line is a brain-training game with a simple purpose: complete the patterns by connecting any two dots with just one line. Levels start off easy with simple shapes but soon become quite complex as the number of lines increase. Fortunately, it’s possible to get hints throughout the game – which are free to use, although these should be used in moderation.
As you keep clearing stages, new types of lines, such as “one-way lines” or “overlapping lines,” are introduced into the equation to make things even more challenging. If you’re looking for a complex puzzle game, 1Line might be exactly what you’re looking for. The title has 15 levels and 850 stages, so it can provide hours of entertainment. 1Line is free to download and play, but to get rid of the ads, you will need to pay $1.99.
10. Brain It On!
Price: Free / $0.99
Brain It On! is a game that bets on physics principles to keep your brain alert and engaged. Levels consist of small puzzles that you have to solve by drawing various shapes and objects. For example, you have to think of a way (or more) to “Lift the orange box off the ground.” There are multiple solutions for solving each challenge, so let your imagination run wild, as the sky is the limit here.
The game requires a lot of patience. It can even lead to brain storming sessions with your friends. It’s all about trial and error, so as you experiment with more things, you’ll have better chances for success. Five levels are unlocked every time, and you need to complete four out of five to unlock the next group. Each puzzle you complete is rated with one to three stars, based on your performance. For instance, solving a challenge within the time limit will earn you two stars. The game is free to download and install but contains ads that can be eliminated in exchange for $0.99.
While the services on this list are available as mobile apps, you’ll also find brain training apps for your PC. For instance, you may want to try Happy Neuron or Braingle. Tetris for PC is also available in many flavors. We also recommend these free memory games on various platforms to keep your brain in good shape.
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