We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Cognitive Games?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Cognitive games are games and exercises which are designed to help people improve cognition. These games can be used in many different settings. Children are sometimes exposed to cognitive games to stimulate learning and to prepare them for the classroom environment, for example, while such games may be used with victims of stroke, traumatic brain injury, and other neurological events to aid recovery. Some people also just enjoy cognitive games as a recreational activity which can also be beneficial to the mind.

These games are very diverse in nature. Cognition, the process of thinking, requires activity in various regions of the brain as the brain responds to stimuli and processes information. Cognitive games are supposed to do things like improving reflexes, helping people learn, promoting critical thinking, and helping people with pattern associations. A cognitive game can also be used to help someone learn a foreign language, memorize materials, or perform other learning-related activities.

Whether or not cognitive games are truly beneficial is a matter of debate. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle; not all games labeled as “cognitive games” really stimulate cognition, but cognitive games are not entirely useless, either. Working with some games does appear to improve cognition in some studies, and some studies also suggest that different people respond differently. A game heavy on visual stimuli, for example, might improve cognition in one person and do nothing for another.

Examples of cognitive games include computer games, exercises on computers, flash cards, board games, physical puzzles, and some physical activities. One advantage of cognitive games is that they can be tailored to an individual, which can be especially important when they are used in a therapeutic setting. A stroke victim with impaired vision, for example, might benefit from games and activities directed by a therapist which stimulate the other senses, while a young child who does not enjoy sitting still might like physical activities like puzzles, which can also improve fine motor skills in addition to activating areas of the brain involved in problem solving.

Claims made on the packaging of cognitive games are fairly unreliable. Professionals such as neurologists and developmental psychologists may have recommendations for particular games which they think are beneficial. These games can include activities which don't require any purchases of products, such as making up mnemonics at home with a young child to help the child learn and process material learned in the classroom.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By rjh — On May 31, 2011

@roser - I definitely think sudoku counts. I play it all the time as well, you might say I'm addicted! Thankfully it's one of the rare addictions that is actually healthy. Sudoku requires you to use concentration, logic and common sense so it kind of gives you a cognitive workout, you might say. The best thing is that it’s accessible anywhere; you can play it on your phone or in the newspaper or on the Internet.

I guess you could make a comparison to physical exercise; just like physical exercise keeps you physically healthy and prevents muscle loss, mental exercise like sodoku keeps brain cells from dying and promotes better brain function.

By roser — On May 31, 2011

Does sudoku count as a cognitive game? I play it on my phone all the time and I think it improves my memory and helps to keep my brain sharp. It’s so easy to zone out and forget what you’re meant to be doing but I think practicing sodoku really helps me focus.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.