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Lumosity lawyer needed 2

In one TV commercial, a man declared that with Lumosity "decisions come quicker. I'm more productive." The company website stated that brain training could help "patients with brain trauma, chemofog, mild cognitive impairment and more," adding that "healthy people have also used brain training to sharpen their daily lives and ward off cognitive decline."

Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission said: No more.

Its complaint charged that the company could not substantiate such marketing claims. "The research it has done falls short because it doesn't show any real-world benefits," said Michelle Rusk, an F.T.C. staff lawyer.

She called the commission's yearlong investigation "part of an effort to crack down on cognitive products, especially when they're targeted to an aging population."

Lumosity agreed to give its one million current subscribers, who pay $14.95 a month or $79.95 annually, a quick way to opt out. It also accepted a $50 million judgment, all but $2 million suspended after the commission reviewed the company's financial records.

Previously: Lumosity lawyer needed ?

Critics have pointed out, too, that the cognitive tests used to assess participants' progress are often so similar to the training games that investigators may be "teaching to the test." They also question self-reported assessments of the results.

"When they train on these games for 15 or 20 sessions, people get better -- on these games," said Thomas Redick, a psychologist at Purdue University. Improvement often shows up between pre- and post-tests of cognition, too -- an example of "near transfer," the ability to do better, with practice, on similar tasks.

But what about "far transfer," affecting participants' ability to function in their daily lives? Does cognitive training help people handle their finances or remember where they parked?


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