In October, 29,000 neuroscientists gathered in Chicago to discuss new research in their sprawling field at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting. Amid mountains of abstracts on every conceivable aspect of brain science, there were a surprising number of studies about an unlikely subject: video games.
Everyone wants to be better: more beautiful, more exciting, more intelligent. It's how the self-help industry thrives, why gyms get swamped after New Year's, why kale is a thing. It's why Lumosity, a company peddling digital games to exercise memory, can charge users $120 a year and net millions from investors.
I recently spent two days on location in Las Vegas with certified mad men of science Jason Silva and Tim Shaw of the National Geographic Channel's Brain Games and None of the Above. We were somewhere off US95, on the edge of the desert, when the cognitive illusions began to take hold.
The SegaToys Brain Checker is a handheld game that allows you to get your gray matter flexing. Given the Japanese content of the source, we are not too sure what the Brain Checker will actually involve, but derivations of Dr. Kawashima's Brain Age games are to be expected. From the screenshots available, the game will…