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Brain Training

December 5, 2014

When I need a little break at work, sometimes I go make a cup of tea, and sometimes I play a game at lumosity.com. I started doing that summer before last, when I was going through a particularly bad period of brain fog and worried about the state of my grey matter. I know the scientific jury is still out on how well brain training like that works to improve cognitive skills, so I’m going with intuition on this. Surely spending time doing things that require me to pay close attention and remember stuff are better for my brain than scrolling through my Tumblr dashboard looking at pictures of animals sitting on capybaras. Not that I don’t also spend time doing that, of course.

Cognitive skills aside, it’s certainly good for my ego to look at my stats on lumosity and see that I’m in the 99.1th percentile for my age group or even the 93.9th compared to users who are 25 to 29 years old. All the data is one thing I like about the site. Even if I don’t feel like playing a game, it’s interesting to see that my recent performance makes me most similar to people who work in mathematics. The mathematicians among my friends might be surprised to hear that; I don’t think anyone would be surprised that I’m similar to people who work in computer science, what with me working in computer science and all (though sadly more and more of what I do is just management tasks and not at all technical).

I’ve played some of the games so many times now that I’m topped out, with no more levels to achieve. Familiar Faces is one of those. In this game, customers pop up on the screen and need to be greeted, by name if you’ve seen them before, and then they order food and drink which must be delivered to them. Early on, I found it surprisingly stressful when the cartoon people would scold me for not remembering their name or giving them the wrong order. I kept playing, though, and gradually got better. By the time I topped out and stopped playing, there were dozens and dozens of customers I recognized as soon as they showed up (it helps that they always wear the same clothes and stand the same way every time). I made up backstories for some of them, and definitely had my favorites.

Virtual customers

For instance, that young woman on the left is Aimee. She likes to ride horses on her family’s ranch up in the mountains. Next to her is Arthur; he runs a design firm. Barbara, in the grey sweater with the black rose, is one of my favorites. She’s an actress. On the far right is Alesia. It’s hard to know if she’s judging me or just has resting bitch face. When I forget her name, I feel sure it’s the former. I suppose that’s only fair, as I judge the customers based on what they order. Orange juice and mozzarella sticks? What kind of meal is that?

Some days, like today, when my overall performance index drops, lumosity is not as good for my ego, but getting back up where I was just gives me something to aim for next week, when I hope to be rid of these germs that have me in their grip still today.


On this date in 2013: In Which My Brain is Fried
2012: Private Leander W.
2009 through 2011: No entries
2008: It’s Holidailies Time
2007: No entry
2006: I Used to Crochet
2005: Winter Count – January
2004: No entry
2003: Quilt List
2002: Forgotten Tradition

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  1. Mary Says:

    Hmm. I’ve been wondering about Lumosity, so I’m glad to hear your experience with it!

  2. JohnSherck Says:

    That might be good for me, since I’m generally terrible about remembering people’s names. Which is a shame, because I deal with a lot of people in my job….

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