1:55 p.m., Feb. 12, 2013

Tutorial on Lumosity

Lumosity.com proves useful in tricking training

Your brain is important right? Well, duh. So that must mean that keeping the health of your brain in check is important.

If someone told you a device exists that helps you become smarter just by playing games, would you believe her? I’m that girl telling you that Lumosity.com is the way to go when it comes to improving or maintaining the brain’s health. Because, let’s face it, even after three days of training, even I learned how to shark the system. Lumosity.com is a website with lots of features to improve your brain’s function. It does more than offer games to play. It also records your brain performance index (BPI), the measurement Lumosity.com uses to track your cognitive performance and improvement.

However, there are pros and cons to this website.

Pros spelled out

Lumosity.com categorizes the areas in which it can help improve your BPI. These categories are memory, attention, speed, flexibility and problem solving. When you start your brain training, Lumosity.com asks you which of those areas you would like to improve. You can pick one or all of them.

After you have told Lumosity.com what areas of your brain you want to improve, it starts you off with games that address each category. The games change each day you train.

For instance, Luminosity.com started me with three memory games that helped with speed and attention. On my second day of training it gave me two memory games that helped improve attention and flexibility as well as a problem solving game.

Each day, the training program or games are different.Luminosity.com also gives users information on which categories your training games address. It offers recommendations and scores from when the user previously played the game.

When the user has finished playing a game, the website gives a statistics page for that game, addressing reaction time, accuracy, total number correct and points earned followed by the overall score, the game BPI, the user’s top scores and how many Lumosity points the user has earned. Lumosity points are a measurement of how much and how well the user has trained. It also gives recommendations from other Lumosity trainers and saves the statistics for later reference. Lumosity also offers a brain profile. What the brain profile boils down to is a sum of the user’s activity. It includes overall BPI, the BPI a user has earned for each category, Lumosity points, the user’s best brain areas and a small graph of your training history improvement over time. It’s a very simple page of statistics.

Brain improvement doesn't have to cost

The downside of Lumosity.com is it’s not a totally free site. In order to unlock all its features, you would have to pay a monthly, yearly, semiannual or even a lifetime fee. Lumosity.com leads users to believe that unlocking these features is necessary, which really isn’t true. Users can get all the brain training and improvement needed without paying for the extra services. At first look, every game Lumosity offers is locked unless paid for. This fact was initially frustrating, but I found that all the games offered for free during training were the same games the site had locked under the games tab.

This epiphany, I guess you could say, was my “stick-it-to-the-man” moment. I realized that users can play all those games that are locked through the training games it gives you each day for free. You just have to be patient. This actually turns out to be a good thing because instead of being overwhelmed with all the games, you can choose to play or not to play, or to pay or not to pay for, Lumosity chooses those games for you in your day-to-day training. Only patience is required to play each of the locked games it unlocks for you in your free training.

The other slightly unpleasant downfall was Luminosity.com doesn’t have a mobile app for Android. The site has one for Apple products so outrageously expensive, I don’t even want to talk about it. Because Android’s market share is much higher than Apple’s, it should be a “no-brainer” to have an Android app, which should come free to subscribers to Luminosity.com whether they pay for Lumosity’s services. Overall, the pros outweigh the cons on the unrestricted side of Lumosity.com. Don’t buy into paying for these services because, the “extras” are unnecessary. This easily navigated site provides statistics to “maul” over, if you’re curious.

All the features offered on the free side of Lumosity.com are the uncomplicated and rudimentary tools needed to improve brain health. I know this because after just three days of training with the free side of Lumosity.com, I figured out how to trick the system and get all I need for free. Thank you, Lumosity.com.