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How is this different than brain training?
How is this different than brain training?

BrainLabs is not brain training. Find out how cognition and lifestyle tracking are part of an effective brain health toolbox.

Mike Battista avatar
Written by Mike Battista
Updated over a week ago

BrainLabs emphasizes measuring your cognitive performance over training your brain.

Taking a challenge will give you a snapshot of the current functioning of your brain. A lot of lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, sleep, and stress (which you can track using BrainLabs), affect your cognitive performance. Taking the tests at BrainLabs allows you to view how your cognition changes along with your life. Think of it more like a Fitbit for your brain than a piece of exercise equipment.

But can taking the tests improve your brain? The scientific jury is still out on that.

So This Site Won't Give Me Mental Superpowers?

That would be nice, but we go with the science. Our general stance is that "brain training," as sold within other commercial products, has little evidence for its effectiveness. In one large-scale study that we conducted in collaboration with the BBC (Owen et al., 2010), we found no evidence that training improved general cognitive function. Here is a video with our chief scientific officer, Adrian Owen, demonstrating the results:

That doesn't mean you won't see improvements. Your performance on each test will get better with practice, especially at first; see the FAQ will I get better at each test with practice? However, it is unlikely that getting better at one test will make you better at other tests, or translate into improvements in everyday life.

Taking the tests certainly won't hurt your cognitive health, though. And keeping your brain active does seem to have effects over the course of a lifespan. A recent study found that using the Odd One Out test as part of a training regime did help older adults stay sharp and live independently (Corbett et al., 2015). Another one (Ferreira et al., 2014) found that puzzles like Sudoku, and non-cognitive video games, were linked with better performance on BrainLabs tests. So, the tests themselves may have small effects on your brain, but only as part of a general habit of using your brain, and most importantly, paying attention to your cognitive health over your lifetime.

Where Does BrainLabs Fit Into My Self-Improvement Efforts?

Think of BrainLabs as one tool in your lifestyle toolbox. Use it as a daily checkup for your brain, and to observe how changes in your life affect your cognition. Track physical activity, stress, and sleep, as well as the other lifestyle factors we will be introducing over time. You can even use BrainLabs to see if other brain training apps are working. And although we won't claim that the tests single-handedly supercharge your cognition, it is part of a set of mentally rich daily activities that keep you at your cognitive peak.


  • Corbett, A., Owen, A., Hampshire, A., Grahn, J., Stenton, R., Dajani, S., Burns, A., Howard, R., Williams, N., Williams, G., & Ballard, C. (2015). The effect of an online cognitive training package in healthy older adults: an online randomized controlled trial. The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, 16, 990-997. Download PDF

  • Ferreira, N., Owen, A., Mohan, A., Corbett, A., & Ballard, C. (2014). Associations between cognitively stimulating leisure activities, cognitive function and age-related cognitive decline. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 4, 422-430. Download PDF

  • Owen, A. M., Hampshire, A., Grahn, J. A., Stenton, r., Dajani, S., Burns, A. S., Howard, R. J., & Ballard, C. G. (2010). Putting brain training to the test. Nature, 465, 775-778. Download PDF

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