App Appeal: Lumosity is a productive time-suck that may fix your brain

The app Lumosity is a mobile version of the "brain training" company, which offers games such as these. Credit: Provided
The app Lumosity is a mobile version of the “brain training” company, which offers games such as these.
Credit: Provided

Lumosity
Price: Free
Platform(s): iOS

We tend to fret the most over our body. We anguish over diets and exercise and how much we’re moving and how much we’re sitting. (And never forget: sitting equals death. Get one of those demonically expensive standing desks.) We’re so busy with physical health that we can forget there’s another aspect of our bodies that we should be unhealthily freaking out over: our brains. When the mind goes, it doesn’t matter how our knees feel or abs look.

Some of us are smart enough to keep our minds regularly active; some believe doing the daily crosswords (or just Monday and Tuesday, i.e., the easy days) staves off Alzheimer’s. That may not be true, and it may not be true for Lumosity either. Founded in 2007, the online “brain training” company has sought, using the combined mental prowess of neuroscientists, to make simple games that seek to activate the mind. One can play these on computers or on the phone, since if you’re going to mess around with your phone to kill some boring time, you may as well be doing something productive.

Lumosity first sees what cognitive skills you’re looking to improve (or use at all), with categories ranging from “loser fewer objects” to “remember people’s names” to “dissect complex arguments.” You could also, if your self-esteem is in the gutter, choose all. From there you play from over 40 games, which include ones for memory— like one where you’re supposed to recreate patterns on a board — or ones that test mental quickness. One has you judging whether the same shape has been repeated or not, which is harder in the mad rush of play than you think.

The site boasts of its scientific bona fides. There’s talk of peer-reviewed papers and multiple studies on how Lumosity has helped cancer survivors and patients with mild cognitive impairment, which leads to Alzheimer’s. Other reports are more mixed and suspicious of its successes, speaking of weak sample sizes and a general atmosphere of hot air. But anything that keeps you from mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, growing with envy at the far-off lands visited by people better than you, is at the very least a productive way to use a time-suck.

Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…