4 Brain Training Apps to Strain Your Noggin


Brain Training AppsIs it really possible to be too smart for your own good? Don't really smart people know how to do cool things such as develop iPhone applications? Me, I wouldn't know how to land a man on the moon if my life depended on it.

After a long day of pondering such unanswerable questions, I decided that w hat I really need is less brain drain and more brain train, so I went looking for ways to wise up. I found some help from the App Store. None of thses tools will increase your IQ to rocket science level, but you'll probably learn a few things along the way.

Brain Toot (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
Brain Toot
Developer: Vertical Moon Inc
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store

Brain Toot, from Vertical Moon is first on my list of brain trainers. With a name like that, how could I resist? With "Easy, Medium and Hard to choose from, I went with Easy. No one starts out training for a marathon by trying to run 26 miles the first day, right?  I counted matchsticks, recalled how many bricks were in each of three columns, computed the answers to math problems and other mind benders. I ended by completing one round of the Hard level. I could kept at it but I wasn't feeling any smarter, so I decided to try out the next brainy app on my list.

NeuroSnack (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
Developer: Corey Johnson
Price: $3.99 Download on the App Store

NeuroSnack, from CoreyDale, champions something called "dual n-back." If I do whatever that is for only 20 minutes a day, I would be able to increase my fluid in intelligence in only a few weeks. I find out the challenge is to recall the position of a dot inside one of nine cubes.

Here's a simple description of how it works: You're asked to compare the position of the dot in screen B with the position of the dot in screen A and then decide whether they match. At the next level, you're asked to compare the position of the dot in screen C with screen A. Then, just to make things even trickier, the app starts throwing in random words and you're asked to correctly recall whether the dot positions and/or spoken words match. I didn't do too well, which the app was quick to point out. With hurt feelings, I slunk off to try the third app on my list.

Clear Mind (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
Clear Mind
Developer: Christian Sellberg
Price: $3.99 Download on the App Store

Clear Mind from Avellana Software is last on my list, praise to Boston's Sacred Cod! What I need, I finally decide, is to have a clear mind so I can focus on getting smarter, which is what Clear Mind promises to teach me using a series of meditations, affirmations and a brain challenge.

I start with a meditation that turns out to be: "You could say that you are able to choose your response to these thoughts." I'm unsure what thoughts this meditation refers to. Maybe it means I should think harder and grow smarter.

I decide to check my affirmation of the day: "I know that good things do come easy to me. Like the sun do rise each day." Well, maybe I'm just not smart enough to divine the meaning of these deep thoughts, I think.

I decide to try the game, which begins with it instructing me that: "You are a green buble [sic] which is to collect good karma." Sigh, I gave up.

IQ boost (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
IQ boost
Developer: Brian Williams
Price: free Download on the App Store

IQ Boost from tnxbai, I discover, is nearly identical to NeuroSnack. It's the same dual n-back training thing. Graphically it's different, and there are a few more settings, but it's the same deal. The real difference is that it costs $2.00 more than NeuroSnack. Instead of feeling smarter, I feel dumber.

I've undergone a bunch of mental acuity tests, I've been shaken and motivated, and have had my pocket picked of two bucks, and had mysterious things said in my direction and I'm still not feeling any smarter.

I feel like the guy who followed the Egress sign, thinking I was going to see something else hairy and scary in the carnival side show tent.

Of all these apps, only one really stands out:  NeuroSnack. I think if I used it to lift my brain weights every day, I might grow some muscle between my ears. I also like Brain Toot, but honestly, I thought it was too easy, even for a wise guy like me.

photo credit: @Doug88888 via photo pin cc

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