Are brain-training games a scam?

science not science science see I just
did some really cool things based on
what scientists have discovered about
our natural world but how do scientists
go about doing science so today on brief
brain facts I’m reviewing what makes
science science thanks to the scientific
method but before I do don’t forget to
subscribe to my channel if you want to
learn more about that thing in your head
no not those thoughts about that person
you’ve been particularly thirsting over
but the brain simply put we’re all
scientists to some degree but the
distinguishing feature of professional
scientists is the use of a critical
thinking tool that involves the careful
collection of information identifying
appropriate terminology controlling
observations obtaining precise
measurements followed by replicating
results that’s it’s all about the use of
a particular method a scientific one if
you will the scientific method is
comprised of six elements or stages
these stages can be remembered with the
help of the following mnemonic brains
well go through each stage and more to
tell but here is what our mnemonic
stands for begin an observation realize
an issue add a hypothesis implement a
test notify others and finally solidify
your claims in the first stage you may
notice something interesting or
questionable it’s here that we begin our
observation for instance as a scientist
I’m interested in understanding the
effectiveness of brain training programs
after all it’s big business and is
projected to make 3.3 a billion dollars
by 2020 or next year further companies
offering brain training have boasted a
lot of claims including stating that
their programs prevent Alzheimer’s
despite researchers not even knowing the
exact cause so there may be a problem
that needs to be addressed regarding the
claims touted by brain training
companies now moving on to our second
step let’s realize the issue by asking
some questions our brain training
programs like luminosity offered me
Alamos labs capable of preventing mental
decline as one ages or do they simply
take advantage of an aging population in
their constant quest for youth and death
avoidance okay so that got dark real
now that we’ve realized an issue how do
we go about finding my answers what are
my expectations as a scientist I have to
be as precise as possible and even
attempt to go beyond my initial question
of our brain training programs effective
by defining my expectations thus we have
arrived at the third stage where we add
a hypothesis regarding brain training
programs my hypothesis is that these
programs help improve performance on the
specific training tasks but that there
is less evidence to support general
cognitive improvements further I
hypothesized but there is little
evidence to support the claim that these
programs are capable of preventing
illnesses such as Alzheimer’s since we
have a hypothesis or two we can
implement tests or experiments to
challenge our own hypothesis yeah you’ve
heard that right during this stage of
the scientific method scientists attempt
to disprove their own hypotheses if
you’re familiar with hypothesis testing
you may have heard of the null and
alternative hypothesis as scientists we
assume the null hypothesis is true in
this case our null hypothesis is that
brain training interventions do improve
general performance beyond the actual
thus users see benefits on real-world
tasks further these tasks do prevent
illnesses such as Alzheimer’s it’s the
alternative hypothesis that is our
original premise while all of this may
seem overwhelming don’t worry
researchers have examined these training
programs and interventions in fact in
2016 an over 200 page report that I had
to read linked in the description box
below was released examining these pro
using data collected from the companies
themselves and of course published
articles so in order to test our
hypothesis we’re using the brain
training programs themselves such brain
training games include tests of reaction
time pattern recognition and attention
this now leads us to our fifth step
notify others of our findings in regards
to brain training and intervention
offered by companies like positive
science improvements were seen on the
actual brain games but now clear
improvements were seen regarding overall
progress in cognitive abilities
therefore our original null hypothesis
the brain training interventions do
improve general performance beyond the
actual training task was disproven
scientists also found that these
programs fail to prevent illnesses such
as Alzheimer’s and other forms of
dementia which isn’t really a surprising
finding interestingly claims made by
woman’s labs pertaining to Alzheimer’s
prevention and other cognitive and brain
based benefits resulted in a two million
dollar fine against Lumos labs by the
FTC that’s a very expensive
anti-scientific mistake to make as the
alternative hypothesis has been
supported and I shared the results with our final step is to solidify
our claims via replication unfortunately
with a commercialization of the sciences
usually replication studies are not
conducted because there’s nothing sexy
about old news from a marketing
standpoint but hypotheses can’t become
theories without replication luckily
some of the sciences have been buffered
from this anti replication stance such
as Sciences surrounding climate change
other sciences haven’t been so fortunate
but the problem has been noted and other
fields are in the process of conducting
replication studies only time will tell
if replication will stick or if it will
once again fall by the wayside for the
sake of capital now that we have a
better understanding of how scientists
just remember buyer beware and use those
brains wind sciencing better yet we
would all be better off to think like
scientists every day here are those
steps again begin an observation pay
attention to what others say realize an
issue ask questions ask the
a lot of questions healthy skepticism
makes a healthy mind identify what can
be tested and then implement the test
find a way to examine what is being
claimed whether reading the news or
hearing the latest rumor find sources
pass the information against what you
know and finally notify others share
what you’ve learned and have others
check your work how else do we reproduce
important findings without our fellow
scientists if you liked what you watched
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always thank you for watching

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. We have scientists on Youtube living on pickle juice and dog cookies. 😱 I say this is partly why millennials and younger are for socialism. You cant disprove my ironclad, pier-reviewed observations and tested hypothesis.

  2. That was great!!! I always wondered about the claims that these "brain games" made… Good to know the true science behind it all!!! We'd be better off putting the money into research of these brain disorders to try to find ways to treat or cure them!!! Thank you for another great episode!!!

  3. This answered a long standing question I had about 'Brain Games'. Thank you! PS. The purple shirt with tie is DOPE!

  4. $2 mil. settlement for deceiving consumers – it's nothing for a private company with $50 – $100 million annual revenue… Medical claims work, they can increase sales (e.g. +20% for 'healthy' oil).
    Maybe games are not for prevention, but they are helpful…

  5. Great discussion! As a scientist, your videos are excellent and I appreciate the time and effort that you have put into your presentations!

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