Building a Better Brain

January 1, 2016

The rule that "neurons that fire together, wire together" suggests that cognitive training should boost mental prowess. Studies are finding just that, but with a crucial caveat. Training your memory, reasoning or speed of processing improves that skill, found a large government-sponsored study called Active. Unfortunately, there is no transfer: Improving processing speed does not improve memory, and improving memory does not improve reasoning. Similarly, doing crossword puzzles will only improve your ability to do crosswords. 'The research so far suggests that cognitive training benefits only the task used in training and does not generalize to other tasks,' says neuroscientist Yaakov Stern of Columbia University.  [read more]