Brain games require individuals to complete tasks that involve specific cognitive skills like memory, attention, logic, and quick thinking. These games have become increasingly popular since staying mentally sharp is a top concern for many of us.
People who believe that doing crossword puzzles or sudoku will keep their minds sharp will probably be dissatisfied.
"Brain health" companies such as Lumosity and Posit Science offer popular web and mobile games that promise to stimulate your grey cells. The companies advertise that their games improve such cognitive skills as memory, attention, processing speed, mental flexibility and problem-solving.
Though brain training games may have an addictive nature, they are fun ways to activate your neurons! Psychologists still have reservations about the impact of brain training games, but they generally agree that they help to enhance skills like memory and problem-solving. Brain acuity is largely dependent on how often we put our brains to work.
6 best brain games
There are many brain games on the internet proclaiming to boost your 'intelligence' or cognitive skills in one go. However, there are some that have gone through clinical trials and have shown results for specific cognitive functions. The central idea is to play games that activate different parts of your brain and not just one. Here are six of those that you can try out:
#1 Brain teasers
Here is a brain teaser: A rooster is on the roof of a barn and is facing east. The wind is blowing to the west at 10 mph. The rooster lays an egg. In which direction does the egg roll?
There is no egg. The rooster didn't lay one because roosters are males.
Several details were included in this imagery that we may have paid too much attention to, making us come up with the wrong answer. Similar brain teasers can be applied to real-life situations.
When trying to figure something out, it's important to analyze the information that is available to you. Brain teasers not only help you keep your mind sharp, but they can help you improve your critical thinking skills as well.
#2 Brain games for your hemispheres
Take a look at the random words in the picture above and keep repeating them out loud. If you say the words out loud, over and over, faster and faster, something strange begins to happen. As the two sides of your brain begin to work together, these illogical words begin to make up a common phrase.
Researchers believe that while our left hemisphere is dominant in processing the words you see and hear, the right hemisphere plays an important role in interpreting the meaning. Playing brain games like these activates both your hemispheres and turns gibberish into a meaningful sentence.
#3 Games by researchers
Unlike other games, Gwakkamole and other games were designed from the ground up by a team of developmental psychologists, neuroscience researchers, learning scientists, and game designers to train cognitive skills.
In this brain game, players are instructed to smash the avocados that pop up on the screen while avoiding any of the avocados wearing hats – each avocado may have a different hat.
As players get to higher levels in the game, more avocados appear on the screen and the speed at which players must smash them increases. Each time a player smashes a hatless avocado, they gain points; and conversely, they lose points when they smash an avocado wearing a hat.
Gwakkamolé forces players to focus their attention, and respond quickly and deliberately (by smashing hatless avocados) to gain points.
This well-known app is divided into sessions of three games based on your objectives, such as memory, attention, problem-solving, processing speed, or mental flexibility. The games are always unique and are played against the clock. Users can track progress and compare their performance with others, and developers claim that just one session per day can enhance mental skills.
Chess was designed to be a mentally taxing and intellectually difficult game. To completely analyze the board and formulate a plan for each move, one must rely on short-term memory.
Additionally, you'll need to foresee your opponent's moves and make sure that each one contributes to the achievement of your ultimate objective. Your long-term memory is triggered by this activity, making you use both parts of your brain simulataneously.
The card game of bridge is considered a cerebral brain game because it teaches you logical reasoning, quick thinking, patience, concentration, and partnership skills.
The immune system may be stimulated by playing bridge, according to research conducted at the University of California, Berkeley. Playing the game is said to leave you with a higher number of immune cells. According to the researchers, this is because players need to use memory and sequencing.
When your brain is functioning at its best, it sets you up to perform activities to the best of your abilities. Though brain games are readily available and are gaining popularity day-by-day, real-life activities such as playing cards with friends and family or learning a musical instrument promote neuroplasticity as they involve multiple areas of cognition.
Based on previous research and a meta-analysis conducted by researchers, cognitive activities that are multicomponent and multidomain may be more beneficial for keeping the brain sharp and promote neuroplasticity.
Other activities that can challenge your memory, visuospatial capacity, processing speed, judgement/decision making, and motor skills include making a model airplane, singing, public speaking, or volunteering with a cause you are passionate about.