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Portal 2 improves brain training more than software designed for that, says science

This was a triumph.

A recent study from Florida State University pitted Portal 2 against a piece of software specifically designed to train one's brain. The result: Portal 2 was more effective at that sort of thing.

'I'm making a note here: Huge success.'

The study, popularised by Popular Science and captured below via Gamasutra, had its 77 participants randomly assigned to play either eight hours of Portal 2 or eight hours of a game designed for brain training called Lumosity, a "cognitive training program" that claims to "improve various core cognitive skills including memory, attention, processing speed, mental flexibility, spatial orientation, logical reasoning, and problem-solving skills."

The subjects were then given a series of tests before and after their game-playing session that measured their performance in three distinct criteria: problem solving, spatial skill and persistence.

Those assigned to Portal 2 showed increased performance in all three criteria.

"Portal 2 players also showed significant increases from pre-test to post-test on specific small and large-scale spatial tests while those in the Lumosity condition did not show any pre-test to post-test differences on any measure," the study concluded.

Of course, with a sample size that small and only one other game to compare it to, the ultimate effects of Portal 2 are still inconclusive. "The sample in this study is relatively small and may lack sufficient statistical power; hence caution should be taken when generalising the findings," the report noted.

Here's the full study:

Portal vs Lumosity

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Portal 2

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Jeffrey Matulef


Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984.