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Improving My Brain With Lumosity

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Lumosity is an online brain training and neuroscience research company that offers a brain training program consisting of more than 40 games in the areas of memory, attention, flexibility, speed of processing, and problem solving. Life in the Boomer Lane has several friends who subscribe to their service and all speak highly of it. LBL decided to look into it.

LBL must now interrupt her own train of thought to inform readers that:

1. She does not follow directions very well unless the directions involve finding the ice cream section in a supermarket

2. She gets distracted very easily

3. She has developmental topographagnosia, a tragic brain disorder of the frontal lobe, which results in no ability whatsoever to navigate herself in space or to understand spatial relationships

4. She has difficulty with faces and names, again thanks to developmental topographagnosia

5. She is really short and her desk chair seat doesn't come up as high as she would like

She is also funny, creative, empathetic, intuitive, can spin a mean hula hoop, and still remembers how to sing the 1959 hit "See You in September" backward. None of these traits are assets in the world of Lumosity. In spite of all this, she decided to give Lumosity a try. The site lets everyone try sample exercises, whether you join or not, so she started with these.

The first sample exercise seemed like a slam dunk. Two or three letters were presented, and LBL was asked to make as many words as she could from those (example: bre can make break, breakfast, bread, etc) . LBL is no piker when it comes to words. She has been speaking since she was nine-months-old and she hasn't shut up yet. She has accumulated a lot of words along the way. But, as she has already indicated, she has other issues.

When the first two letters came up on the screen, she promptly began typing as many words as possible into the box provided. Each time, the box wasn't big enough for more than two words. Each time, she got an error message. Each time she was mystified. It was only after receiving a score of zero on the test that it occurred to her that the box was meant to contain one word at a time. Type word. Hit enter. Type word. Hit enter. Type word. Hit enter. That kind of thing.

In spite of this, she plowed ahead and signed up for the service. Now, after having taken two days worth of Lumosity training, here is what she knows about herself:

1. LBL cannot manage more than three of anything (dots/symbols/children) at a time. She already knew that when she was raising her children. Had she produced a fourth offspring, they would basically have had to have raised themselves from scratch.

2. LBL cannot perform under pressure. Lumosity speeds up certain tests at the end and makes a sound like they did on Beat the Clock, which also should have been used right before people were beheaded back in the eighteenth century. When this happens, LBL gets scared and freezes. This does not produce favorable test results during dodge ball games, either.

3. LBL cannot distinguish a keyboard (or any part thereof) portrayed on a computer screen from the actual keyboard in front of her. She is wont to peck at the illustration on the screen and ignore the actual keys. This is favorable neither for procuring train or airline tickets or for answering questions in an online test.

4. LBL cannot do tests that involve backward sequencing of more than three items(example.: 1-2-3 is shown and the test taker must then type 3-2-1). In spite of the fact that in ordinary life, LBL often does things backward, apparently, she cannot perform backward on demand.

5. LBL cannot perform tests in which one is a cartoon waitress and must remember the food items ordered by cartoon characters who are in a cartoon restaurant. Back in the summer of 1967, she had that same issue with real characters in a real restaurant in which she was a real waitress. She had a very brief career.

Lumosity tests give scores and then tell subscribers how they fared compared to their age group. This morning LBL had a score of 110, as compared to an average of 100 for her age group. Allowing for her spatial disorder and her phobia of loudly ticking clocks and of being a waitress, LBL has recalculated her score to be at least 500. She looks forward to tomorrow's test.