Peak

Where's your head at?

In the age of smartphones in our pockets, tablets constantly in our hands, and addictions to social media, many of us are frying our brains and frazzling our attention spans. Cue the rise of brain training games, promising to halt this steep decline while allowing us to stay mentally active for longer. This is where Peak - Brain Training comes in. View full description

PROS

  • Scientifc input into the app
  • Fun yet challenging games
  • Graphical insight into your progress and how it compares to your peers

CONS

  • Limited amount of games each day before you must pay

Very good
8

In the age of smartphones in our pockets, tablets constantly in our hands, and addictions to social media, many of us are frying our brains and frazzling our attention spans. Cue the rise of brain training games, promising to halt this steep decline while allowing us to stay mentally active for longer. This is where Peak - Brain Training comes in.

Get into training

Brain training games are all the rage at the moment, with Luminosity and Elevate proving popular on app stores. However, whether these apps have any effect on our mental agility has been the subject of much debate. According to an article posted on Peak - Brain Training's blog with esteemed scientist Bruce E. Wexler: "There is absolutely no doubt that brain training can work". However: "it is equally true that some things that claim to be brain training probably do not work".

This last point is why Peak Labs has worked not just with app developers and designers, but also scientists, to produce this app.

The concept is simple: select areas you would like to improve (such as communicate more effectively, and memorize lists and details) and the app will assign you games to play based on these criteria. The drawback with the free version is that you can only play four games a day before you must shell out some cash. This seems a meager amount, but maybe it is just enough to have some kind of impact if you play every day.

Boost your brain power

Peak's games don't feel like a chore to play: they're fun and interesting, with the challenge increasing the further you get.

The games are designed to test five key attributes of your brain: focus, problem solving, memory, language, and mental ability. Each time you play the games, Peak will tell you how you are progressing in each area and how you are faring against your peers. This data is presented in a simple-to-understand graph. My language scores highly while my memory needs improvement (this may explain why I'm such a fan of to-do list apps). Given that my memory could do with some work, it's pretty useful that the app allows you to add daily reminders to 'train'.

A useful addition would be an explanation of how Peak comes to the above conclusions. For example, though I performed best in a game centered on problem solving, Peak still seemed to feel that language was my strongest skill.

Sort your head out

While there isn't any specific scientific evidence to back up the claims these brain training apps make, Peak - Brain Training sets itself apart by drawing on the expertise of scientists and academics to provide useful insights into your (mental) strengths and weaknesses and how this compares to your peer group. While this information needs to be put in more context to be fully utilized, it is streets ahead of the vague and random scores that some of its competitors provide.