Is Portal 2 a better brain-training game than brain-training games?
A recent study from Florida State psychology researchers pit two kinds of games against one another to see which is actually “better” for your brain: "entertainment" games or "brain-training" games.
A recent study from Florida State University psychology researchers pit two kinds of games against one another to see which is actually “better” for your brain: an “entertainment” game Portal 2, or Lumosity, a collection of games that have the express purpose of training your brain. Researcher Val Shute made no bones about the results in a Popular Science report: "Portal 2 kicks Lumosity's ass.” The study (full PDF below), however, was not exactly conclusive. In it, people played the games for eight hours, and after that period of time, Portal 2 players showed a larger increase in cognitive skills than did Lumosity players. According to the study, the skills measured were problem solving, spatial skill, and persistence. As the PopSci report notes, even though the study is inconclusive, it does bring up questions about how games that were designed for entertainment can influence and increase neuroplasticity, or the ability for the brain to learn new cognitive skills. On a related note, veteran game developer Starr Long, when predicting trends for the next decade of video games at GDC Next last year, noted games’ ability to teach us new kinds of cognition. The Portal gun, which lets players make entry and exit points in a 3D space, introduces complex concepts and makes them accessible, for example. "That's not a cognitive ability you had before you did this," Long said at the time.