I have received a number of emails asking me to review the difference between Mind Sparke and Lumosity – two popular brain training programs.
They each base their training on scientifically designed systems. Both are featured at brain gyms throughout the country and they are two of the more affordable options on the market. So how do you choose which one is right for you?
Mind Sparke focuses heavily on dual n back training which is a protocol that was developed during the now famous Jaeggi study.
You’re presented with a screen where you see a block appear and at the same time you hear a letter called out. After the block disappears, you must remember where it appeared, as well as which letter you heard.
The program increases in difficulty as you are asked to recall the block placement and spoken letter of two spaces back, three spaces back and so on. Confusing? No worries. Everyone gets confused when they first begin dual n back training. After the first few sessions, it begins to make sense – and the quick results are worth it.
MindSparke is accessed online so you can train from any computer. You can also have a CD-ROM shipped out to you with the SE version.
The program consists of 30 minute sessions performed for 19 straight days, and then you can reduce your training to as little as 1 to 3 times a week. By the end of the first week, you should notice a dramatic increase in focus and a marked improvement in your short term or working memory.
Those 19 days take commitment, and this is why I recommend the program to those in need of concentrated training or those who have the self discipline to exercise their brain even if the exercise isn’t necessarily fun.
Added Bonus: Because Mind Sparke is part of a smaller company, you have more interaction with creator and CEO, Martin Walker. There is also an active and popular blog where users can post their personal training results and get feedback and support.
Who Is Mind Sparke For?
Students looking to perform better in school and/or on standardized/admissions tests like the SAT, GRE, MCAT etc.
Adults looking to function more highly at work, think more clearly and perform better on tests like the Bar, CPA exam, IQ tests, Civil Service exam, etc.
Seniors looking to improve memory, focus, thought speed and clarity.
What is the cost?
Brain Fitness Pro $19.95 per month or $159.50 per year.
(Web Based Training)
Brain Fitness Pro Jr All Siblings $63.95 one time fee
(Jr is PC only. Mac version not available yet.)
If you are looking for a more casual form of brain exercise, I would recommend Lumosity. Now, by “casual” I don’t mean less effective.
The brain training is centered around a wide variety of scientifically designed brain games. The company focuses on providing a fun environment so that users are encouraged to continue their training.
Because the program is online, you can log in to your account anywhere you have an internet connection.
After you sign up, you can start Basic Training – a 40 day workout of games that the company designed to, “improve memory, attention, processing speed, and cognitive flexibility.”
You can also choose to skip Basic Training and go straight to the core modules which are each designed to target specific areas such as processing speed, focus, math ability, high school standardized testing and ADHD.
Lumosity gives you more control over your training. If you want to log in every day, there is plenty for you to do. If you can only train a few times a week, that’s fine too.
The company also offers an Assessment section where you can periodically test your improvement within individual cognitive domains. So, say you’ve been training in the core module for attention speed. Click on the attention speed assessment, take it and you can actually measure your improvement.
Added Bonus: This past Spring, Lumosity implemented a nice community feature where you can add other users as friends and keep tabs on how their brain training is progressing. If you’re not into the social scene, you can easily set your profile to private and keep your training to yourself.
Who Is Lumosity For?
All ages, although the company states it is too difficult for young children.
Anyone looking to improve cognitive function in a relaxed and varied game format.
Those seeking tailored brain training modules in order to focus on particular problem areas.
What is the cost?
Monthly Subscription: $9.95
Yearly Subscription: $79.95
If you’re a Mind Sparke or Lumosity user, leave a comment below and let us know which program you use and what ultimately made you choose it.
Brain Training 101 chooses products to review based on quality. Some of these products are part of affiliate programs which earn the site a commission. Lumosity and Mind Sparke are two of these products. Our philosophy has always been to provide in depth, honest reviews of high quality products regardless of their participation in affiliate programs.