When I look back at the number of visitors to this site, I can see a big spike in visitors around the time I wrote a post on free brain training software. It appears that a lot of people are looking around the Internet for free opportunities to keep their brains sharp.
While I doubt that most of the free games or training programs have the same impact as better-designed programs such as Dakim, Lumosity, CogniFit, or Posit, I think that it is likely that trying something new is good for your brain.
Some of you may have heard about the studies on Internet searching done by Dr. Gary Small and his colleagues. They have shown that Internet searching activates key brain centers that may be helpful in keeping your brain healthy. You can read more in an LA Times article here.
Maybe one of the keys is novelty. Doing something, almost anything, that is new may ask your brain to make new connections. Although the science is speculative, when you look at the direction that research is going it looks as though doing new things that make your mind process information in new ways may be essential in improving brain fitness.
In a recent post on this site, I talked about reducing anxiety by not catastrophizing. Gary Dashney at www.onlinebraingamesblog.com made a comment, and that led me to look at his site. He has collected an impressive list of games, and wrote an excellent post on his thoughts on the characteristics of good brain games. You can find the article on his blog here. The site also has an extensive list of free brain games online here. Even if you don’t use all (or any) of them regularly, if you look through Gary’s list you can become more familiar with what’s on the Internet.