According to a recent study conducted by Florida State University, the popular puzzle game Portal 2 has been proven to increase certain cognitive skills.
The FSU study was aimed at judging the merits of popular online brain-training sites like Lumosity–which uses a number of mini-games to promote certain cognitive functions–versus abstract puzzle games like Portal 2.
The university team randomly charged 77 undergraduates to play either game for 8 hours, charting the subject’s cognitive skills before and after each session.
Study results indicated that subjects who had played Portal 2 scored higher than Lumosity players across the board on the post-session tests. The online tests measured three different points: problem solving, spatial skills and persistence–all of which were improved by playing Portal 2.
The team also notes that Portal 2 players “showed a statistically significant advantage over Lumosity on each of the three composite measures”.
After playing Portal 2, these participants also saw substantial gains in “specific small- and large-scale spatial tests”, proving that there’s an actual science behind Aperture Science’s quirky puzzler.
Lumosity players, on the other hand, didn’t fare as well. The study found that subjects who played 8 hour sessions of Lumosity didn’t show any measurable gain with problem solving, spatial skills or persistence.
According to the study, subjects who played the brain-trainer failed to show any quantifiable difference after their sessions–pretest and posttest results remained the same.
These findings won’t surprise anyone who’s played Portal 2 for any significant amount of time. The game is well-known for its challenging, groundbreaking puzzles that promote abstract thinking. Players are met with impossible situations but are given the tools they need to solve the problem in unique ways, as any playthrough of the game will show.
If you’re one of the millions of people who want to improve their cognitive skills, think about dropping Lumosity and picking up Portal 2 instead.