Effectiveness of Lumosity vs. Well Known Memory Techniques on Memory Tasks and Perceptions

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Osborn, Rebecca; Wynia, Ethan; Patrick, Faithe
Cognitive Psychology
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When asked to remember, technology of today allows individuals to access endless amounts of information without relying on their abilities. There are many situations in which a good memory is still needed; however, many are not aware of basic strategies that could lead to memory improvement. Students in two separate sections of a Human Memory course were asked to complete three memory assessments: One at the beginning of the course, a second at the mid-term, and a third during the final week. Throughout the course, both sections engaged in strategies to improve their memory. Additionally, one section participated in Lumosity, an online cognitive training program, for twelve weeks. The goal of the study was to determine whether students' memory improved based on course learning and/or course learning combined with Lumosity. Following each assessment, students completed open-ended questions about whether they believed their memory changed and/or improved as a function of the course and Lumosity experience. Results on assessment scores revealed gains on several of the memory assessment tasks, independent of Lumosity. This finding is consistent with scholarly work on popular cognitive training programs, but inconsistent with Lumosity claims. Students believed course work and theory led to memory improvement. Students' self-report on Lumosity indicated they enjoyed the games and would recommend the program to a friend even though they did not believe Lumosity training would yield long-term improvement. Overall, these results will be used to inform others on the best options to reliably improve memory.