US Navy to fund brain training research

By Dan Peterson

From a recent press release, the US Office of Naval Research has partnered with a brain training company, Lumos Labs, to study the neuroplastic changes caused by their online cognitive training software:

Lumosity, the leader in brain health and performance, today announced it has been selected for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant by the Office of Naval Research, which is responsible for the coordination, execution and promotion of science and technology programs for United States Navy and Marine Corps. The grant is to be dedicated to the development and testing of a mobile application that increases intelligence and cognitive performance – specifically working memory, attention and decision making – in healthy adults. Lumosity will apply the grant to further development of its iPhone application, Brain Trainer, the world’s most popular mobile brain training application with more than 7 million users.

“Being selected for a SBIR award from the Office of Naval Research is a tremendous honor, and shows the promise that Lumosity cognitive training has for enhancing cognition and making people smarter – even young, sharp, healthy people,” said Joe Hardy, PhD, Senior Director of Research and Development at Lumosity. “The grant will enable us to conduct further clinical research to measure more precisely how Brain Trainer changes brain structure and function to allow people to be sharper, quicker, have better memory, and to think more clearly.”

It’s exciting to see a well-funded study on cognitive training’s effects on young, healthy adults, and to see the idea of cognitive training to enhance elite performance going more mainstream.

Lots of questions. How situation-specific will the training be? Or are they only trying to train the most general cognitive skills? It will be really interesting to see how the results play out.

One Response to US Navy to fund brain training research

  1. Benjamin says:

    I have read medical studies, some stating that cognitive training improves upon the entire highlighted field of mental development, and some debunking it; stating that games such as those played in Lumosity’s software is effective only for the game, with no significant carry over into other fields. I hope that cognitive training is possible, and if you could get it on the cheap, then I don’t see a possible downside. I will continue to look into the Navy’s research with Lumos.

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