We've all been there; you're in a meeting, or maybe halfway to your stop on the subway, when you break out the ol' smartphone. Sure, maybe it's not perfect social etiquette, but you quickly quash that concern by flipping through your apps. You're on a mission to find that Quizzical App, or Brainstorm, or Brain Buster or Brain-something or another and justify your actions.
It's okay that you're ignoring most everyone around you, or only catching every other word in this conversation - because as the commercial claims, you're training your brain! But are you really? Is the thin veil of a tiny video game really stimulating your frontal lobes into a bigger and more efficient machine, or is it a flimsy excuse to ignore the rules of social engagement?
Much to the dismay of bosses and mothers everywhere, most scientists are starting to lean toward yes. It is indisputable that exposure to high levels of mental stimulation and activities at a young age helps reduce the effects of dementia and gradual memory loss; but now many feel that can be achieved through brain games. The games help stimulate different sections of the brain, increasing blood flow, focus and strength. A regimental use of the games is a sufficient source of both stimuli and material for the brain to retain.
Scientists are not, however, claiming that these games are the cure for poor memory or a panacea for memory loss. The playing of brain games does not have any restorative features - only stimulating elements. When a brain is regularly challenged and active, it works better, and that is simply what the games do.
It still seems like a great excuse to tap endlessly at your screen, so play on gamers. Play on.
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News and notes for independent professionals and their clients. This is the October 17, 2016 edition.