“Brain Games” Help Make Kids Smarter
Reasoning and speed training games can boost test scores, a study in Developmental Science shows. Reasoning and speed training games can boost test scores, a study in Developmental Science shows. After eight weeks of playing various games, kids with low test scores improve their thinking skills in specific areas.
- Games can improve children’s cognitive performance.
- Brain training games only lead to improvement of the specific cognitive skill that is trained in the game, for example reasoning or processing speed.
- Games are most effective for children with underdeveloped cognitive skills.
Can intensive training with commercially available games improve children’s cognitive skills?
28 7-9-year-olds from an elementary school with low statewide tests scores and a high proportion of socioeconomically disadvantaged children.
Oakdale, California, USA
During an eight week training program, children played a dozen digital and non-digital games focusing on either reasoning (e.g., Set, Azada, and Professor Brainium) or reaction speed (e.g., Pictureka, Super Cow, Mario Kart). The kids’ reasoning and reaction speed were tested before and after the program.
Facts and findings
- The kids jumped from below average to above average, but only for the skill that had been trained:
- Training with reasoning games led to a 29% improvement;
- Training with reaction games led to a 24% improvement.
- Children with the lowest test scores in the beginning showed the most improvement.
Figure 1: Improvement in Reasoning Skills (“TONI” Scores) &
Figure 2: Improvement in Processing Speed (“Coding” Scores)