Brain Training doesn't help learning

Written by Joe Martin

January 26, 2009 // 12 p.m.

Tags: #brain-training #brain-training-price #france #french #nintendo #nintendo-ds #study

According to a new piece of research conducted by scientists from the University of Rennes, France, Nintendo's Dr Kawashima's Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain? game offers no significant advantages over paper-based learning techniques and can actually harm memory functions.

The study was done by splitting a sample of ten year-old children of similar ability into four groups and evaluating their maths and memory performance through a series of tests. The first two groups did a seven-week course of learning on Brain Training, while the third group did similar puzzles on paper and the fourth group was allowed to go to school as usual. Tests were then conducted before and after each session.

The results however showed that the DS control groups didn't do any better than the other groups and actually performed worse when it came to basic memory tests.

According to The Times, the DS control group only did better in the maths tests - and even then, only by 1 percent. While the DS showed an improvement in maths ability by 19 percent, the paper-based group were able to match this, while the school-goers showed an increase of 18 percent.

In the memory tests the paper-based group was a clear winner, with an improvement of 33 percent against the school-goers who got 20 percent improvement and the DS group who showed a 17 percent decrease in memory faculties.

"The Nintendo DS is a technological jewel. As a game it's fine, but it is charlatanism to claim that it is a scientific test," said Professor Alain Lieury.

"There were few positive effects and they were weak. Dr Kawashima is one of a long list of dream merchants."

Do you ever try to use games as an educational experience? Let us know in the forums.

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