A smartphone game has been developed by the University of Cambridge that has experimentally proven its ability to improve concentration and attention after a month’s use. The new brain-training app is called Decoder. The app is commercially available for Apple devices. However, not all of the experts are onboard with the benefits of the app.
Decoder comes from a team from the Behavioral and Clinical Neuroscience Institute at the University of Cambridge. The team behind the development of Decoder wanted to back up their claim of cognitive improvement by providing an experimental study
The research divided 75 healthy young adults into a total of three groups. One group was to act as a no-game control group. The other two groups took part in eight, one-hour gameplay sessions over the course of 4 weeks. One game group played Decoder while the other group played Bingo. For the testing of attention and concentration levels, all participants took the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery Rapid Visual Informative assessment before and after the study. The test claims to be a ‘reliable and objective measure of sustained attention.’
The research team concluded that with only a month’s use of Decoder, the subjects showed significant and meaningful enhanced in concentration and attention as compared to the subjects that didn’t play any games and the ones that played Bingo.
There are, however, experts that are talking about the relevancy of the results with the real-life cognitive outcomes. Til Wykes, King’s Colleg London, said, ‘The benefits seem to be limited to a computer test and only with supervised app use. It may be more beneficial to spend the eight hours a month on other activities like going for a walk or the gym where there is plenty of evidence of cognitive and other health benefits.’
Thom Baguley, Nottingham Trent University, said, ‘Brain training can boost performance in short to medium term on tasks that are relatively similar to the original training. Here the main test and the Decoder game appear to share underlying similarities.’
Nonetheless, the Decoder brain-training app is available via app developer Peak on iOS. The study has been published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.