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free brain gamesImprove your working memory and fluid intelligence by playing a game. This isn’t some vapid marketing claim; it’s the result of various scientific tests.

Brain Workshop, a free brain game you can install on Linux, Window and Mac machines, creates the exact circumstances of an activity shown in three different academic studies to improve one’s short-term memory and problem solving skills. To quote the game’s website, “these findings are important because fluid intelligence was previously thought to be unchangeable.”

Don’t believe a game can improve your brain? This being a free game, it won’t cost you anything to find out.

What It Does

As I said, this free brain game can improve certain aspects of your mental faculties, as this 2008 article in Wired pointed out. The main improvement this gives your brain is the ability to think on your feet. To quote the article,

Fluid intelligence measures how people adapt to new situations and solve problems they’ve never seen before. Fluid intelligence differs from crystallized intelligence, which takes into account skills and knowledge that have been acquired — like vocabulary, grammar and math.

This is significant. Before the method employed by Brain Workshop was created and tested it was assumed that fluid intelligence could not be improved.

Want to know more about how this process works? You can read the original study, if you want, or the other two separate confirmations. All seem to agree that playing regularly, around 20 minutes a day, is ideal.


How To Use It

So what does this software look like? The best way to get an idea is to watch this video:

As you can tell, the game is not focused on graphics:

free brain games

The point is to increase the function of your memory. In each round, a square shows up in a particular part of the grid, and a letter is read aloud. You must keep track of what letters are read and where the square was when they were read, then find matches later. If you find a match you press one or two keys in order to point out what you’ve found. The default mode, Dual 2-Back, means you must remember what was on the board two rounds ago.

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Do well and you’ll hear some nifty music. You are scored after each game, and will move up to harder versions of the game as you improve. The step after Dual 2-Back, for example, is Dual 3-Back. This means you must match squares and letters from three rounds ago. This, to me, is a great deal harder, but I imagine it will seem easy if I ever get to Dual-16 Back.


You can download Brain Workshop here, if you’re interested. It works on Linux, Windows and Intel/PPC Macs. The main interface might be a little foreign to some users, because it’s keyboard driven instead of mouse driven. Having said that, it’s not too hard to figure this out.

free brain games

Similar, albeit not academically researched, ideas include:

Let us know how much smarter you become in the comments below, or please do recommend other free brain games you may know about.

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