Here are two things that are both true. Neuroplasticity is real — that is, the brain really can change and learn and improve based on experience. And there’s little evidence that brain-training games are any better than placebo.
“So,” wondered science journalist Caroline Williams, “if brain training isn’t the way to apply it, what should we be doing?” Williams is the author of My Plastic Brain: One Woman’s Yearlong Journey to Discover if Science Can Improve Her Mind. She picked areas in which she wanted to improve — everything from attention to anxiety to creativity to navigation — and spent a year trying new techniques to see how much she would really pick up.