How can we explain spiritually scientifically

Brain jogging on the computer doesn't do what it says on the tin

Joint statement by international cognitive and neuroscientists

The claim that older people can use commercial computer games to increase their general mental performance and prevent dementia has not been scientifically proven, say scientists from Berlin and Stanford. Together with over 70 leading global cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists, they have published a statement.

Mentally fit while playing. Doesn't that sound promising? The advertisements lead us to believe that we can increase our mental performance with certain "brain jogging" computer games and even prevent dementia diseases such as Alzheimer's - and all of this supposedly scientifically founded. It is not uncommon for advertising to read “Developed by scientists”. But how effective is computer-based brain jogging really?

Previous research does not support the claims of the commercial providers, now more than 70 internationally recognized cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists have established. In a joint statement, they draw attention to the fact that the claims of the brain jogging providers have not been scientifically proven. Whether and how these games affect the brain, the mental performance and the competent coping with everyday life has not been adequately researched. “It is common for advertising to highlight product benefits. Often, however, the claims of the game companies are only apparently related to the research quoted, "says Laura Carstensen, professor of psychology at Stanford University and director of the Stanford Center on Longevity.

The experts, who signed the joint statement on the initiative of Stanford University and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, agree: “There is no convincing scientific evidence that commercial brain jogging games reduce or reverse the aging-related decline in mental performance . "

The same applies to brain jogging games: Practice makes perfect. If you play a lot, you improve your performance. However, the advertising gives the impression that the performance improvements are not limited to the games themselves. Instead, learning success while playing should generally make you smarter, protect against mental degradation and increase your competence in dealing with everyday problems. There is currently no convincing scientific evidence to support this promise.

However, the researchers also warn against pessimism. "Those who are physically active, take part in social life and lead a spiritually stimulating life have better chances of aging in a spiritually healthy way," emphasizes Ulman Lindenberger, director of the developmental psychology research division at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. The brain and behavior can be trained well into old age. The search for effective training programs is an important scientific and social challenge.

Key messages of the statement at a glance:

  • There is no evidence that brain jogging improves general mental performance.
  • Advertisements for brain jogging games that claim to prevent or cure Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia are scientifically unfounded.
  • Physical training (aerobic fitness training) increases physical health and has a demonstrably positive effect on blood flow to the brain and on cognitive performance.

additional Information
The joint declaration is based on an initiative by Laura Carstensen, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and Director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, and Ulman Lindenberger, Director of the Developmental Psychology Research Department at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. Laura Carstensen and Ulman Lindenberger published a joint statement on this topic back in 2009, which has now been further developed and signed by a large number of scientists.

You can find the joint declaration in English here.