Can playing games make you smarter? This is the kind of question that causes many traditional educators to roll their eyeballs… and the kind of Holy Grail dream that drives companies like ThinkFun to develop our new programs and continue to innovate!
Last month, I was contacted by Allyson Mackey, a doctoral student who works in the Bunge Cognitive Control and Development Lab at UC Berkeley. She and a team of researchers had just finished a pilot study in which elementary school students engaged in a program playing Rush Hour, Chocolate Fix and several other games over the course of two months… and they measured an average increase that was the equivalent of thirteen IQ points from beginning to end!
The implications of these initial findings are huge, and we are thrilled to be communicating with this team and exploring possible larger-scale research in the near future using our new Brain Lab online program! Read more about this exciting study!
There is increasing evidence that playing the right kind of games with the right kind of structure and incentives can effectively teach content and improve thinking skills, and this is precisely what we aim to do with our new online Brain Lab program. This program takes games students already know and love like Rush Hour, and structures game play in such a way that players stretch their thinking, build their arsenal of strategies, and ultimately become more effective in their reasoning and problem solving! Initial testing showed players eager to engage and hungry for more challenges, and we are currently in the midst of a second round of testing.