If you repeat a specific mental task—say, memorizing a string of numbers—you’ll obviously get better at it. But what if your recollection improved more generally? What if, by spending a few minutes a day on that simple task, you could also become better at remembering phone numbers, or recalling facts ahead of an exam, or bringing faces to mind?
And they might be wasting their money, according to a team of seven psychologists led by Daniel Simons at the University of Illinois. The team, most of whom have worked on brain-training themselves but have not received money from the industry, spent two years reviewing every single scientific paper cited by leading brain-training companies in support their products—374 in total.
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