Lumosity is an online brain training and neuroscience research company program developed by Lumos Labs, Inc., as part of the Human Cognition Project (HCP)[3]. It consists of nearly 40 games in the areas of memory, attention, flexibility, speed of processing, and problem solving.

Below is a detailed analysis of this game roughly following Brian Winn's[1] Design/Play/Experience framework, including:


As a whole, Lumosity uses minigames to train five sections of the thinking mind, each of which is broken down into four aspects. A player can choose to train any combination of these sections and aspects, even omitting some or all entirely (the latter of which, predictably, does nothing in particular).

The five sections, and their aspects, are:


Lumosity does not have an overarching story. Certain minigames, such as Eagle Eye, give a goal beyond a high score -- in this case, compiling a bird scrapbook -- but none appear to be more complicated than necessary. However, the games are very well tailored to what they are designed to train and, ultimately, very short, so they do not diminish from lack of a story.


By its nature, the gameplay of Lumosity depends entirely on the minigame in question. Most of the games are locked out for free accounts, but those I was able to test had very simple interfaces, usually no more than a few adjacent keys or just the mouse. This lets the player focus on the exercise without having to worry about the actual input. Also, for games that involve levels, they increase their variable complexity by two units for every perfect level and decrease it by one for every mistake, ensuring that the player advances quickly to their limit but is never pushed too far.

While I cannot truly say whether the games actually train in the way they were intended, it is worth noting that Lumosity was developed with the guidance of several neuroscientists and other scientitsts.[2]

User Experience

The minigames are very straightforward and, as previously stated, require a minimum of interface. It's also readily apparent how to get help or to advance. The displays are clean and rounded, making it easy on the eyes and easy to focus.


Lumosity is entirely browser-based (or app-based for smartphones) and seems to support at least the most popular browsers. Aside from Flash Player, I did not find it requiring any particular software or hardware. Overall, this makes it extremely accessible.

I only found a few severe limitations. First, it does not seem to have much compatibility with non-English language. Second, hough it does have an opt-out option for minigames requiring English fluency or due to colorblindness, all options and opt-outs require a paid account to actually implement. This is clearly part of their business strategy.


Lumosity and, by extension, the Human Cognition Project, have been used in a number of researches and experiments, including use by Stanford, the University of New South Wales, Harvard, and UC Berkeley[4].

Particular examples include:


Overall, Lumosity is a fun series of mental exercise minigames. The pre-game help menu is sufficiently informative, the gameplay is surprisingly engaging, and the games are short enough to not get boring from their own simplicity. Lumosity (and the HCP) also serves as a measureable platform for cognitive experiments and exercises, which is crucial for both. The only major drawback is that it's really a subscription-based game, with, at the time of this writing, a promotional price of $6 a month for a year ($4.50/mo for two years at once) or a whopping $269.96 for a lifetime subscription.


  1. Winn, Brian. The Design, Play and Experience Framework. In R. Ferdig (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Effective Electronic Gaming in Education. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2009, pp. 388-401.
  2. Partners. Lumos Labs, Inc.
  3. Lumosity Science - the Human Cognition Project. Lumosity
  4. Kessler, Sarah. Brain Games Company Lumosity Is Business Up Front, Experiment In The Back End. Fast Company. August 28, 2012.
  5. Kesler, SR et. al. Changes in frontal-parietal activation and math skills performance following adaptive number sense training: preliminary results from a pilot study. June 30 2011
  6. Geron, Tomio. Lumosity Looks To Make Military Smarter With Navy Grant. Forbes. June 8, 2011