In this age of digital overdrive, you can have more than just fun with your apps – you can also use them to become smarter. There are a collection of apps and games that test various mental skills and keep track of improvements over time. In no particular order, here are 17 apps you can use to help your memory, challenge your IQ, and become smarter:

1. Brain Fitness Pro: This app uses different memory training exercises to improve memory, attention and problem-solving skills. According to its developers, cognitive skills are greatly improved and these effects remain long term.

2. BrainHQ: This app is a brain training formula developed by Posit Science. This app employs the use of games and puzzles in challenging exercises to improve pattern recognition, memory and people skills (identifying facial expressions, memorizing names and remembering faces). A number of exercises are available but premium subscribers have more options.

3. Brainiest: This app is unique in its scope (number mnemonics, commonly used words in different languages, etc) for testing pattern matching, memory, language, maths and strategy skills.

4. CogniFit Brain Fitness: As the name implies, this app consists of games designed by Neuroscientists. It focuses on cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and concentration. Users can keep track of their progress, overall brain health and play with friends. Developers have observed improvements from spending at least 20 minutes, 2-3 times a week.

5. Cognito: Its brain testing concepts embraces secret agents and global spying missions to improve memory, logic and mental agility.

6. Duolingo: This app uses games to build up its user’s vocabularies in the learning of new languages. The games include language learning exercises, such as identifying words, listening and pronunciation exercises, and short translations.

7. Eidetic: This app employs a spaced repetition technique to improve memory skills. The difference in this app is in its context. Where others are basically random, the items here are meaningful to users, such as phone numbers, bank account details, appealing quotes, and other real life applications useful to its users. The app also notifies users on the appropriate time for taking the spaced out exercises.

8. Elevate: Similar in its simplicity and visual clarity to Peak and in addition to maths comprehension and other mental skills, this app allows users to train brain functions, such as listening, memory, comparing values, recalling names, reading and listening comprehension.

9. Fit Brains Trainer (Android, iOS: Free, with premium subscriptions): Exceptional in its Emotional Intelligence (EQ) basis for featured games in the categories of memory, language, concentration, logic/reasoning and visuospatial skills. Users data are used to keep track of their performance and adjust difficulty levels as the exercises progress.

10. Lumosity (Android, iOS: Free, with premium subscriptions): combines proven cognitive science techniques from the Human Cognition Project. Users choose what brain functions to exercise. The app employs a session of 3 games tailored to the users choice. It is said that just one day can improve mental skills in this categories: memory, attention, problem-solving, processing speed or flexibility of thinking. Users can track their progress and the games change every time.

11. Peak (Android, iOS: Free, with premium subscriptions): Peak includes a collection of minigames bordering on memory, language, focus, and mental agility. Regular users can employ performance data available to monitor their improvements over time

12. Quizlet (Android, iOS: Free): This app uses flashcards developed by various users, so there are a variety of topics ranging from maths, geography, language, at each user’s disposal. The flashcards custom-made, updated and shared among users. The advantage is that there are a variety of topics users can choose to focus on. Since mental agility is associated with our emotional state. Here are some applications that ensure our emotional fitness as well.

13. Happify (iOS: Free, with premium subscriptions): Similar to Pacifica in its aim, happify as the name implies exists to encourage and maintain behaviors that promote happiness through the use of minigames and meditations. Happily also creates a platform that teaches users how to cope with stress and build confidence, key features for any fish that dares to climb trees.

14. Headspace (Android, iOS: Free, with premium subscription): Headspace aims to improve health and happiness and promote emotional fitness through basic meditation techniques. The exercise courses are done for 10 minutes every day for 10 days course. The techniques employed here are scientifically tested and meditation sessions can be downloaded for offline access and more themes are available to premium users.

15. NeuroNation (Android, iOS: Free, with in-app purchases): NeuroNation allows users to set their goals based on their chosen focus. The exercises available focus on numerology, logic, observation, focus and memory. In-app purchases grant wider access to features.

16. Pacifica (Android, iOS: Free, with premium subscription): Aims at training the mind to develop and maintain a positive mental outlook. Users learn to be mindful of their emotional states as there are tools such as tools for mood tracking and notes of the things that sets you off or that makes you happy. Meditations, thought analysis, behavior, and cognition are the areas of interest for this app. Private messaging and other extended features are available to premium users.

17. ReliefLink (iOS: Free, with premium subscription): This is a general awareness tool for mental health, although initially developed as a tool for preventing suicide or detecting suicide tendencies. It also contains journals, tools for safety planning, reminders, emergency contacts, meditation and other means for training and relaxing the mind.

These apps do not cure mental disorders and do not fake the place of professional help. However,  they increase cognitive functions and improve efficiency in handling emotions alongside daily tasks. As running is good for the body, lowering the blood pressure, etc. So also are cerebral calisthenics good for keeping you mentally at the top of your game.

Take your pick(s), when next you have the time, work your brains . . .


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