A type of brain training called the "dual n-back" test was twice as effective as the "complex span" test in improving memory and attention, but neither method made anyone smarter, reported NPR.
A team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore had 136 young adults spend a month training their brains for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, in order to compare the two methods for improving working memory.
Those in the complex span group were asked to remember the location of an item despite distractions, while those in dual n-back test group were asked to watch flashing squares on a computer and listen to a voice reading letters from the alphabet and then identify when a letter or position matched the one that appeared earlier.
"Brain training is still in its early stages. We're still trying to figure out what these programs are doing," concluded the study's lead author, Kara Blacker.
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