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Can the secrets to human cognition be found in Lumosity’s brain-training games?

Jul. 7, 2014 Washington Post

The glossy white coffee cups are moving across the computer screen at a mind-blowing pace. Forty-eight orders, and only two minutes to fill them all. Put cinnamon in one. Two cubes of sugar in another. Make the next one a double-chocolate. Don’t let them spill!

Each month, millions of people from around the globe visit to try their hand at this “brain training” task and other challenges like it.

As Lumosity’s customers — 60 million and growing — log on day after day, year after year since 2007, the information they generate from their play is collected into a giant repository of data, the world’s largest about how the human brain functions and changes over time. And in an unusual move, the private company is allowing access to any academic researcher interested in studying it.

The dataset is so unique and its potential applications so limitless that more than 42 scientists from Harvard, Stanford, Duke and other institutions are now rushing to make use of the data in the hope that it will help them unlock some of the mysteries of the brain.

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