Understanding Your Results

When you have finished the Brain Fitness Program, you will see a screen that summarizes your progress in each of the six exercises, similar to this one:

The chart on the screen shows your percent of improvement in each of the six Brain Fitness Program exercises. What Does It Mean? Many people reach this screen and wonder what their improvement means. Questions they ask include: 1. Are my results normal? 2. How can I train so hard and get 0% improvement in an exercise? 3. What is a “good” percent improvement? 1. Are My Results Normal? Every person has a different experience in the Brain Fitness Program. Remember, you aren’t competing against other people—you’re trying to improve your own cognitive abilities. Any improvement is valuable! If you’d like a point of comparison, “normal” results might look like the ones in the chart above, with varying percentages of improvement in several exercises. Receiving a 0% in some of the exercises is also perfectly normal, as in the chart above. Even if you received 0% in an exercise or two, you probably received higher percentages in several others. Those represent ways in which your brain has improved.

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2. How Can I Train So Hard and Get 0% Improvement in an Exercise? Every brain has different training needs, and not every one responds to the same types of activity. That’s one of the reasons we’ve included six exercises in the Brain Fitness Program. Each one focuses on a slightly different brain function to give your brain several opportunities for meaningful improvement. If you get 0% improvement in an exercise or two, it may be that it just wasn’t your exercise. Here are a few other possible reasons for 0% improvement: • You might have begun at a very high level, leaving you little room to grow. • You might not have enjoyed the exercise, which led you to “tune out” much of the time. (Attention is closely associated with improvement, so distraction or inattentiveness can affect results.) • Your improvements may have been real, but too small for the algorithms in the program to accurately evaluate. • You might not have finished the sessions the program requires, which can hinder improvement. 3. What Is a “Good” Percent Improvement? Some people see a percent improvement of 50% and think “But that’s a flunking grade!” Not in the Brain Fitness Program. The percent reflects improvement over your initial performance. In other words, if you improve in High or Low? by 50%, it means that you’re processing sounds that are twice as fast as those you could process earlier in the program. That’s a tremendous improvement! We generally define the percentages like this: 51% or more: exceptional improvement 26% to 50%: impressive improvement 11% to 25%: substantial improvement 6% to 10%: meaningful improvement 1% to 5%: some improvement We expect any improvement to represent a real change in brain function. It might help to think of it in the inverse: suppose your processing speed slowed by 10%, or your narrative memory decreased by 10%? You can probably imagine what the effect would be! The opposite is also true: improving your brain by small percentages can make major changes in life. So if you achieved any scores of improvement, feel good about what you—and your brain—have accomplished.

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