Scientists Designed an App Which Can Improve Your Concentration Similar to Stimulants

If you are trying to multi-task to try to save time but ended up wasting more time instead. You might be having problems with concentration.

Scientists designed a new app called Decoder which aims to help its users “improve their attention and concentration.” The brain game was evaluated scientifically with results published in the journal, Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience.

The game was made by a team from the Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute at the University of Cambridge. In an experiment, the researchers have demonstrated that playing Decoder for about eight hours in one month improves attention and concentration similar to using stimulants.

Backed By Evidence

The participants of the experiment were 75 young adults divided into three groups; the first group played Decoder, the second group played Bingo for the same amount of time while the last group did not play any. In the course of one month, the participants attended eight one-hour sessions to play either Decoder or Bingo under supervision.

Before and after the trial, the participants were tested using the CANTAB Rapid Visual Information Processing test (RVP), which is known to be a highly accurate test of attention/concentration. The participants also underwent the Trail Making Test, a commonly used neuropsychological test which evaluates attentional shifting.

Those who played Decoder were revealed to have better results than those who played Bingo and those who played no game. The difference was very significant that the effects of playing the game can be compared to the effects of using stimulants such as methylphenidate, or nicotine.  

Additionally, the results of the Trail Making Test, revealed that the app could improve the attention and concentration of the participants without impairing their ability to shift their attention.

“Many people tell me that they have trouble focusing their attention. Decoder should help them improve their ability to do this,” said Professor Sahakian from University of Cambridge Department of Psychiatry. “In addition to healthy people, we hope that the game will be beneficial for patients who have impairments in attention, including those with ADHD or traumatic brain injury. We plan to start a study with traumatic brain injury patients this year.”

Recently, there are a growing number of these so-called ‘brain train’ apps that claims to help improve your cognitive abilities such as memory and concentration. While some of them might have some effects, others might just be marketing ploys to tempt new users.

Decoder is backed with scientific evidence. The team also ensures that the game is engaging and fun. It is designed to have different difficulty levels to match individual players.

To make the app available to the public, the game is licensed to Peak, an app developing company which specializes in evidence-based ‘brain training’ apps. Peak’s version of the app includes higher difficulty levels than the original test game and is expected to have better results.

The app was released for iOS on January 21 as part of the Peak Brain Training app, which is downloadable for free at Apple Store. On the other hand, the Android version of the game will be released later this year.

“At Peak, we believe in an evidence-based approach to brain training. This is our second collaboration with Professor Sahakian and her work over the years shows that playing games can bring significant benefits to brains. We are pleased to be able to bring Decoder to the Peak community, to help people overcome their attention problems,” said Peak.CEO Xavier Louis.