Lumosity: Train Your Brain or Remain the Same

I feel dumb. A constant diet of internet memes and cat videos has done nothing to expand my mind over the last couple of years, and my time in school, when my brain was really active, is seeming further and further in the past. I’m worried if I don’t give my brain a workout, it’s not going to be good for anything anymore.

Lumosity wants to fix that, with lots of exercises and metrics to show me what’s happening with my cognitive skills. Can my brain make a comeback or has the damage gone too far?

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Think About It

Each day, Lumosity lays out a number of brain exercises. Your lineup will be determined by what Lumosity thinks will give you the best results and do the most to move you towards your goals. Lumosity will run you through a tutorial for each activity, making sure to let you know what skills you’re building, and then let you go wild. You’ll be timed, and at the end you’ll get a score. As you work each day, you can compare your scores and see your progress.

Play games to improve your thinking skills.

Play games to improve your thinking skills.

Lumosity doesn’t just throw any old brain games at you and expect you to start showing improvement. When you sign up, the app asks what you’re most concerned about. Do you seem to forget where you left your keys more than is good for anybody? Or do you find yourself wandering into rooms and forgetting what your original game plan had been and why you’d gotten up in the first place? Lumosity will ask you about all of the cognitive stumbles that plague us and whether you’d like to improve any other areas, too.

What's most important to you? What do you need to work on?

What’s most important to you? What do you need to work on?

You’ll need to sign up, but this just means you can track your progress with Lumosity. The important thing is to come back everyday, or you won’t see real change in your scores or how your brain functions when you put the iPad down and start trying to remember where you put your keys. If you’re worried about not remembering to keep up with your mental calisthenics, it’s a non-issue. Tell Lumosity which days of the week you plan to strain your brain and what time of the day you’d like the app to remind you get on the ball.

There’s a variety of different exercises, and you won’t see all of them everyday. Some others may not be right for your goals, and Lumosity is all about helping you hit your target, so anything that won’t get you where you need to be is going to be culled from the game herd. Don’t worry, though, because if you’ve ever played brain exercise games before, you’ll have a good idea of what to expect from Lumosity. There are quick comparisons and memory games mixed up with others that force you to stretch your reasoning muscles.

Keep up with your brain drills to improve your performance.

Keep up with your brain drills to improve your performance.

Paid Vs. Free

If you’re happy with the free version of Lumosity, you can sign up for a subscription. Joining up gives you access to more games and more ways to break down your scores. You can compare your growth to other users in the community, too. Don’t worry about Lumosity sharing your data, though; all of your personal scores are just that — personal — and are never shared with anyone else. That was an important consideration for me, as I can be pretty vain about this sort of thing, and I don’t want everyone thinking I’m slipping just because I have a bad day.

There are plenty of activities, but to get to everything, you'll need to subscribe.

There are plenty of activities, but to get to everything, you’ll need to subscribe.

Now we have to talk about cost, because Lumosity isn’t playing around. Just tapping around in the app, you’d think you could only sign up for a year at a time, and you’ll need to drop around 80 bucks to get that done. There’s a monthly plan, too, if you know where to look, but that’ll still cost $15, more than twice as much as the yearly plan when you break it down. The yearly price isn’t too bad if you’re really loving everything about Lumosity, and it’s great they have a monthly plan in their back pocket so you can try before you buy, but Lumosity still seems to cost a bit more than it’s worth.

Final Thoughts

No one knows better than me that you still need to take your brain out for a spin every once in awhile. A few years out of school, and I’m feeling like my gray matter is turning into gray sludge. Anything to keep me at the top of my game is welcome. Lumosity is definitely keeping me on my toes, and the program is set up so that I can really rely on it to show results if I stick it out.

Judge the results for yourself!

Judge the results for yourself!

That said, I won’t get the most out of it, and Lumosity won’t get the most out of my brain, if I don’t cough up the cash. While this is a great app to exercise your cognitive abilities, I’m not sure I need to pay quite so much to get the same results.


Improve your thinking skills with this app, but to get all of the tools, you'll have to subscribe.