UO Researchers Study Brain Games

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EUGENE, Ore. — If you use brain games to make yourself smarter, some researchers at the University of Oregon have some bad news.

UO researchers say they were able to look right into people’s brains to watch brain activity while people were doing simple tasks.

These tasks were similar to these online games that are advertised as brain training tools and are said to carry over to other similar tasks.

Researchers say if you play these games over and over again, you’ll get pretty good at them and your scores will go up, but that doesn’t mean your new knowledge will transfer over to a different task.

“If you want to get really good at one thing which is you know essentially what our brain is good for, we can learn to get good at a range of different things and so if you pick the things that you want to practice and become good at you can improve I just wouldn’t expect it to generalize to other tasks,” said Eliot Berkman, UO Assistant Psychology Professor.

During the study researchers had around 80 students come into their lab to play a computer game – and at the beginning and end they took a functional MRI of these students brains to monitor their brain activity.

Researchers say it took about 18 months to complete the study – They’re hopeful their findings will help create other brain training activities that can actually transfer over to other tasks.

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