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Not to be confused with Luminosity or Luminance.
Lumosity logo.png
Type of site
Available in English, Spanish, German, French
Revenue $23,600,000[1]
Commercial Yes
Registration Required
Launched 2007
Current status Active

Lumosity is an online program consisting of games claiming to improve memory, attention, flexibility, speed of processing, and problem solving.[citation needed] Lumosity is the product of Lumos Labs, a brain training and neuroscience[citation needed] research company based in San Francisco, California.

There is limited independent evidence that these games are effective, and the company's claims for them have been found to be misleading by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.[2][3]


Lumos Labs was founded in 2005 by Kunal Sarkar, Michael Scanlon, and David Drescher.[4] launched in 2007 and, as of January 2015, has 70 million members.[5][6]


The company raised $400,000 in capital from angel investors in 2007,[7] a Series A of $3 million from Harrison Metal Capital, FirstMark Capital and Norwest Venture Partners in 2008,[8] a Series C of $32.5 million led by Menlo Ventures,[9] and a Series D of $31.5 million led by Discovery Communications with participation from existing investors.[10]


On January 5, 2016, Lumos Labs agreed to a $50 million settlement (reduced to $2 million subject to financial verification) to the Federal Trade Commission over claims of false advertising for their product. The Commission found that Lumosity's marketing "preyed on consumers' fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer's disease", without providing any scientific evidence to back its claims. The company was ordered not to make any claims that its products can "[improve] performance in school, at work, or in athletics" or "[delay or protect] against age-related decline in memory or other cognitive function, including mild cognitive impairment, dementia, or Alzheimer's disease", or "[reduce] cognitive impairment caused by health conditions, including Turner syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), stroke, or side effects of chemotherapy", without "competent and reliable scientific evidence".[2][11][12]

Studies of Lumosity's effectiveness have shown mixed results. Lumos Labs website lists five independent research studies supporting benefits of Lumosity brain games or Lumosity-like customized programs specially developed for researchers:[citation needed]

Researcher Julia Mayas from National University of Distance Education in Madrid, Spain found a significant reduction of distraction and an increase of alertness in 15 elderly healthy adults after 20 one-hour training sessions using Lumosity in comparison to a control group of 12. The authors conclude that these results suggest neurocognitive plasticity in the old human brain.[13]

Psychologists Maurice Finn and Skye McDonald from the University of New South Wales used Lumosity training with patients with mild cognitive impairment. Results indicated that participants were able to improve their performance across a range of tasks with training. There was some evidence of generalization of training to a measure of visual sustained attention. Yet, there were no significant effects of training on self-reported everyday memory functioning or mood.[14]

Stanford University researcher Shelli Kesler worked with Lumos Labs to create customized training programs for cancer and Turner syndrome patients:

  • Kesler et al. conducted study of 23 paediatric cancer survivors and found improved cognitive performance and corresponding increases in brain activity in the pre-frontal cortex following training with customized program by Lumos Labs. Participants showed significantly improved processing speed, cognitive flexibility, verbal and visual declarative memory scores.[15]
  • Kesler et al. also demonstrated enhanced math skills and cognitive performance with corresponding changes in brain activity in individuals with Turner syndrome following training with customized program by Lumos Labs.[16]
  • Kesler et al. found that women whose breast cancer had been treated with chemotherapy demonstrated improved executive function, such as cognitive flexibility, verbal fluency and processing speed after cognitive training. This work is published in Clinical Breast Cancer.[17]

However, other studies demonstrated no effects of training. In one study, a panel of experts, including eminent neuroscientists, examined Dr Kawashima's Brain Training, Mindfit and Lumosity. They found there was no scientific evidence to support claims that the gadgets or brain games can help improve memory or stave off the risk of illnesses such as dementia.[18] Follow-up studies attempting to replicate other studies with positive experimental results found no effect from the training.[19][20][21] Some have noted that the clinical trials cited on their website show that studies conducted used a very small sample size and that the methodology section fails to clearly explain how control groups were handled. Other studies have failed to demonstrate generalizable benefits of brain training.[22][23][24][25][26][27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "#66 Lumosity". Retrieved 15 February 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Lumosity to Pay $2 Million to Settle FTC Deceptive Advertising Charges for Its "Brain Training" Program". U.S. Federal Trade Commission. 5 January 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2016. 
  3. ^ "[Proposed] Stipulated Final Judgment and Order for Permanent Injunction and Other Equitable Relief - 160105lumoslabsstip.pdf" (PDF). Retrieved 28 January 2016. 
  4. ^ Roubein, Rachel (August 24, 2011). "Brain-Training Games Are New Exercise Craze". USA Today. 
  5. ^ Sherr, Ian (November 5, 2013). "Small Brain-Training Game Maker Getting Bigger". Wall Street Journal. 
  6. ^ "Let's celebrate — this month Lumosity added our 70 millionth member!". Lumosity on Google+. 
  7. ^ Kaplan, Dan (June 11, 2007). "Lumosity Raises $400,000 for Fames to Improve Brain". VentureBeat. 
  8. ^ Glazowski, Paul (June 3, 2008). "Lumosity Nets $3m For Brain Gaming". Mashable. 
  9. ^ Rao, Leena (June 16, 2011). "Lumosity Raises $32.5 Million For Brain Fitness Games". TechCrunch. 
  10. ^ Rao, Leena (August 22, 2012). "Lumosity Raises $31.5M from Discovery Communications for Brain Fitness Games". TechCrunch. 
  11. ^ "Lumosity pays $2 million to FTC to settle bogus "Brain Training" claims". Ars Technica. Retrieved 5 January 2016. 
  12. ^ "Lumosity to Pay $2 Million to Settle FTC Deceptive Advertising Charges for Its "Brain Training" Program". Washington Post. 5 Jan 2016. Retrieved January 5, 2016. 
  13. ^ Mayas, J. & Parmentier, F. (March 2014). "Plasticity of Attentional Functions in Older Adults after Non-Action Video Game Training: A Randomized Controlled Trial". PLoS ONE. 9: e92269. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0092269. 
  14. ^ Finn, M. & McDonald, S. (December 2011). "Computerised Cognitive Training for Older Persons with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Pilot Study Using a Randomised Controlled Trial Design". Brain Impairment. 12 (3): 187–199. doi:10.1375/brim.12.3.187. 
  15. ^ Kesler, S.; Lacayo, N. & Booil, J. (2011). "A Pilot Study of an Online Cognitive Rehabilitation Program for Executive Function Skills in Children with Cancer-Related Brain Injury". Brain Injury. 25 (1): 101–112. doi:10.3109/02699052.2010.536194. PMC 3050575free to read. PMID 21142826. 
  16. ^ Kesler, S. R.; Sheau, K.; Koovakkattu, D. & Reiss, A. L. (August 2011). "Changes in Frontal–Parietal Activation and Math Skills Performance Following Adaptive Number Sense Training: Preliminary Results from a Pilot". Neuropsychology Rehabilitation. 21 (4): 433–454. doi:10.1080/09602011.2011.578446. PMC 3152634free to read. PMID 21714745. 
  17. ^ Kesler, S.; Hadi Hosseini, S.M.; Heckler, C.; Janelsins, M.; Palesh, O. & Mustian, K. G. (August 2013). "Cognitive Training for Improving Executive Function in Chemotherapy-Treated Breast Cancer Survivors". Clinical Breast Cancer. 13 (4): 299–306. doi:10.1016/j.clbc.2013.02.004. PMC 3726272free to read. PMID 23647804. 
  18. ^ Smithers, Rebecca (February 26, 2009). "Brain Training? Think Again, Says Study". The Guardian. 
  19. ^ Jaeggi, S. M.; Buschkuehl, M.; Jonides, J. & Perrig, W. J. (May 2008). "Improving Fluid Intelligence with Training on Working Memory". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 105 (19): 6829–6833. doi:10.1073/pnas.0801268105. PMC 2383929free to read. PMID 18443283. 
  20. ^ Nicholson, Christie (May 28, 2012). "Q&A: New Evidence Shows Brain-Training Games Don't Work". Smart Planet. 
  21. ^ Redick, T. S.; Shipstead, Z.; Harrison, T. L.; Hicks, K. L.; Fried, D.; Hambrick, D. Z.; Kane, M. J. & Engle, R. W. (May 2013). "No Evidence of Intelligence Improvement After Working Memory Training: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study". Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. 142: 359–379. doi:10.1037/a0029082. PMID 22708717. 
  22. ^ Owen, A.M.; Hampshire, A.; Grahn, J.A.; Stenton, R.; Dajani, S.; Burns, A.S.; Howard, R.J. & Ballard, G.C. (June 2010). "Putting Brain Training to the Test". Nature. 465 (7299): 775–8. doi:10.1038/nature09042. PMC 2884087free to read. PMID 20407435. 
  23. ^ Dunning, D. L.; Holmes, J. & Gathercole, S. E. (November 2013). "Does Working Memory Training Lead to Generalized Improvements in Children with Low Working Memory? A Randomized Controlled Trial". Developmental Science. 16 (6): 915–25. doi:10.1111/desc.12068. PMID 24093880. 
  24. ^ Chooi, W. T. & Thompson, L. A. (November–December 2012). "Working Memory Training Does Not Improve Intelligence in Healthy Young Adults". Intelligence. 40: 531–542. doi:10.1016/j.intell.2012.07.004. 
  25. ^ Harrison, T. L.; Shipstead, Z.; Hicks, K. L.; Hambrick, D. Z.; Redick, T. S. & Engle, R. W. (December 2013). "Working Memory Training May Increase Working Memory Capacity but not Fluid Intelligence". Psychological Science. 24 (12): 2409–19. doi:10.1177/0956797613492984. PMID 24091548. 
  26. ^ Melby-Verlag, M. & Hulme, C. (February 2013). "Is Working Memory Training Effective? A Meta-Analytic Review". Developmental Psychology. 49: 270–291. doi:10.1037/a0028228. PMID 22612437. 
  27. ^ Smith, S. P.; Stibric, M. & Smithson, D. (November 2013). "Exploring the Effectiveness of Commercial and Custom-Built Games for Cognitive Training". Computers in Human Behavior. 29 (6): 2388–2393. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2013.05.014. 

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