Marketplace of memory

What the brain fitness technology industry says about us and how we can do better

Daniel George, Peter J. Whitehouse

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the therapeutic void created by over 20 failed Alzheimer's disease drugs during the past decade, a new marketplace of "brain fitness" technology products has emerged. Ranging from video games and computer software to mobile phone apps and hand-held devices, these commercial products promise to maintain and enhance the memory, concentration, visual and spatial skills, verbal recall, and executive functions of individual users. It is instructive to view these products as sociocultural objects deeply imbued with the values and ideologies of our age; consequently, this article offers a critique of the brain fitness technology marketplace while identifying limitations in the capacity of commercial products to realistically improve cognitive health. A broader conception of brain health is presented, going beyond the reductionism of the commercial brain fitness marketplace and asking how our most proximate relationships and local communities can play a role in supporting cognitive and psychosocial well-being. This vision is grounded in recent experiences at The Intergenerational School in Cleveland, OH, a multigenerational community-oriented learning environment that is implementing brain fitness technology in novel ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)590-596
Number of pages7
JournalGerontologist
Volume51
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011

Fingerprint

Industry
Technology
Brain
Mobile Applications
Video Games
Cell Phones
Executive Function
Health
Alzheimer Disease
Software
Hand
Learning
Equipment and Supplies
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Therapeutics

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

Cite this

@article{2b3dc74afb994cd2a16e0422ac69b036,
title = "Marketplace of memory: What the brain fitness technology industry says about us and how we can do better",
abstract = "In the therapeutic void created by over 20 failed Alzheimer's disease drugs during the past decade, a new marketplace of {"}brain fitness{"} technology products has emerged. Ranging from video games and computer software to mobile phone apps and hand-held devices, these commercial products promise to maintain and enhance the memory, concentration, visual and spatial skills, verbal recall, and executive functions of individual users. It is instructive to view these products as sociocultural objects deeply imbued with the values and ideologies of our age; consequently, this article offers a critique of the brain fitness technology marketplace while identifying limitations in the capacity of commercial products to realistically improve cognitive health. A broader conception of brain health is presented, going beyond the reductionism of the commercial brain fitness marketplace and asking how our most proximate relationships and local communities can play a role in supporting cognitive and psychosocial well-being. This vision is grounded in recent experiences at The Intergenerational School in Cleveland, OH, a multigenerational community-oriented learning environment that is implementing brain fitness technology in novel ways.",
author = "Daniel George and Whitehouse, {Peter J.}",
year = "2011",
month = "10",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1093/geront/gnr042",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "51",
pages = "590--596",
journal = "The Gerontologist",
issn = "0016-9013",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
number = "5",

}

Marketplace of memory : What the brain fitness technology industry says about us and how we can do better. / George, Daniel; Whitehouse, Peter J.

In: Gerontologist, Vol. 51, No. 5, 01.10.2011, p. 590-596.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

TY - JOUR

T1 - Marketplace of memory

T2 - What the brain fitness technology industry says about us and how we can do better

AU - George, Daniel

AU - Whitehouse, Peter J.

PY - 2011/10/1

Y1 - 2011/10/1

N2 - In the therapeutic void created by over 20 failed Alzheimer's disease drugs during the past decade, a new marketplace of "brain fitness" technology products has emerged. Ranging from video games and computer software to mobile phone apps and hand-held devices, these commercial products promise to maintain and enhance the memory, concentration, visual and spatial skills, verbal recall, and executive functions of individual users. It is instructive to view these products as sociocultural objects deeply imbued with the values and ideologies of our age; consequently, this article offers a critique of the brain fitness technology marketplace while identifying limitations in the capacity of commercial products to realistically improve cognitive health. A broader conception of brain health is presented, going beyond the reductionism of the commercial brain fitness marketplace and asking how our most proximate relationships and local communities can play a role in supporting cognitive and psychosocial well-being. This vision is grounded in recent experiences at The Intergenerational School in Cleveland, OH, a multigenerational community-oriented learning environment that is implementing brain fitness technology in novel ways.

AB - In the therapeutic void created by over 20 failed Alzheimer's disease drugs during the past decade, a new marketplace of "brain fitness" technology products has emerged. Ranging from video games and computer software to mobile phone apps and hand-held devices, these commercial products promise to maintain and enhance the memory, concentration, visual and spatial skills, verbal recall, and executive functions of individual users. It is instructive to view these products as sociocultural objects deeply imbued with the values and ideologies of our age; consequently, this article offers a critique of the brain fitness technology marketplace while identifying limitations in the capacity of commercial products to realistically improve cognitive health. A broader conception of brain health is presented, going beyond the reductionism of the commercial brain fitness marketplace and asking how our most proximate relationships and local communities can play a role in supporting cognitive and psychosocial well-being. This vision is grounded in recent experiences at The Intergenerational School in Cleveland, OH, a multigenerational community-oriented learning environment that is implementing brain fitness technology in novel ways.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=80053491285&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=80053491285&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1093/geront/gnr042

DO - 10.1093/geront/gnr042

M3 - Review article

VL - 51

SP - 590

EP - 596

JO - The Gerontologist

JF - The Gerontologist

SN - 0016-9013

IS - 5

ER -