We spend significant time on our mobile devices for a wide range of reasons. Much of it is for social engagement, some of it is for managing schedules, other times it’s playing games to get through that meeting in which Jerry just won’t stop talking.
Yet one thing we can overlook is how our brain can get atrophied from lack of, shall we say, exercise. Some app developers refuse to stand for that, and get to work building mobile and web applications that not only train your brain, but are fun to use too. Let’s take a look at the best ones they’ve come up with so far.
A creation brought to life by the collaboration of developers, neuroscientists and cognitive learning experts, Elevate is an overall brain training app. Complete with games of varying kinds that include cartoonish characters like dolls, birds, spaceships, Elevate works to sharpen how you speak, listen, write, and read. The goal is to improve your overall communication skills, which directly translates to real life as you can process information better and socialize with others more eloquently. The use of vibrant cartoons makes it easy to get addicted, as it feels more like a game than an educational tool.
Similar to Elevate, Luminosity is also an overall brain training app. The focus of Luminosity however is to strengthen “core” cognitive abilities such as memory, attention span, problem solving, and pattern recognition. By working on these abilities the user will be more equipped for performing real life tasks like decision making and remembering names. Perhaps you’ll finally be able to remember the people you meet at networking events, and the business cards you go home with will actually mean something. With muted down colors and pattern recognition strategies, the games improve brain skills in a subtle and memorable manner.
Learning a second, third, or fifteenth language is excellent for the brain. It improves memory retention, slows the onset of Alzheimer’s for older learners, improves test scores for younger learners, and bilinguals have denser grey matter than people who only speak one language. Yet blocking out time to learn a language can be a challenge, a common problem that Duolingo aims to solve. The free language learning app provides an excellent way for the busy person to learn and practice their new language literally anywhere they are.
To start, the app requires that you set a goal for how much time you want to spend on the app, e.g. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, etc. each day. From there the app takes you through a series of games, lessons and exercises to train your brain how to navigate through the new language. Gamification is infused every step of the way, as the learner earns hearts for doing well, but loses them when answers are wrong. Run out of hearts – game over and start the game again. While you naturally learn commonly used phrases, every now and then the app throws a teaser such as, “I have a snake in my boot.” Who doesn’t love a random Toy Story reference?
Carving out time to meditate or simply chill out can be impossible. Enter Personal Zen, the app designed to help users focus more on the positive and less on the negative for the purposes of reducing anxiety and stress. Users follow two characters through their adventures, one a positive, calm and friendly avatar, the other an angry, hostile figure. The easy-to-play game is set on a grass field and players swipe the ruffled grass until you’ve swiped over all of it. The trick is to swipe as quickly and accurately as you can. As the game progresses, users are conditioned to choose positive options and thinking over negative. Dr. Shannon M. Bennett, Assistant Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College endorsed the app saying, “Personal Zen brings cutting-edge research and well-established strategies for reducing anxiety and stress into the palm of your hand.”
The benefits of being happy absolutely apply to the brain. Happify is the gaming app intended to do just that by recommending activities daily to help you reach goals such as feeling peace of mind, more engaged, gratefulness, feeling more motivated or excited about the future. The user can also select games they feel like playing that day to focus on a particular aspect of happiness like boosting self esteem or appreciating the little things. With statistics showing that 86% of frequent users report improvements in their happiness in just 2 months of use, it’s worth the free download.
Want to develop the next app to improve brains across the world? Ping us and let’s see what we can do.