Study Shows Portal 2 is Good for the Brain


Using games to train your brain is nothing new. Hell, there are entire programs like Lumosity designed to train things like “neuroplasticity,” or the concept of training an adult brain to grow and change. How good are those games, however? Are they actually effective?

Researcher Valerie Shute and other researchers at the florida State University, college of Education decided to test the effectiveness of Lumosity vs. another problem solving game she fell in love with: Portal 2. The results? Well according to her answers in PopSci, “Portal 2 kicks Lumosity’s ass.” Of course, the study itself is actually mostly inconclusive.

In the study, people played Lumosity or Portal 2 for about eight hours, and then their cognitive skills were measured. The specific skills measured were problem solving, spatial skill, and persistence. It turns out that Portal 2 players showed a larger increase in cognitive skills, though we can’t really say definitively that Portal 2 is necessarily better, or what exactly makes it better. Also, the duration of the test was short, so we don’t know if things would even out after days of playing, but still: This provides some interesting data.

One interesting conclusion that can be drawn is that well-designed entertainment games might be better simply because we approach them as entertainment. Our increase in cognitive skills aren’t the focus, so we aren’t exactly thinking of getting better. The study also reinforces other studies that show that games can be awesome for your brain, even as an adult! Now when someone complains about you playing games, you can just tell them you’re just training your brain!

The study was published in the journal Computers & Education and you can read the PDF in full below.

Portal vs Lumosity

About Stephen Crane

Stephen was hooked by the NES at a very young age and never looked back. He games on a daily basis and is currently trying to climb his way up the ranked ladder on League of Legends! Outside of the video game world he actually likes running and owns a rapidly growing collection of toed shoes. Stephen Crane is the owner of Armed Gamer.

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