A new blog on Psychology Today's website, by University of Texas neuroscientist Sandra Bond Chapman, states that "While the games are fun and engaging, there is insufficient scientific evidence to suggest brain training as it exists now can significantly improve an individual's higher-order cognitive ability."
The study Dr. Chapman links to was conducted by Adrian Owen, who looked only at the effects of a program similar to Dr. Kawashima's Brain Age, the Nintendo program that has never claimed to improve cognitive abilities. When I called and asked Owen about the pioneering research of Susanne Jaeggi, involving a form of working-memory training called the N-back, he told me: “I think a lot of the work that Jaeggi has done is excellent. Her working-memory task is unlike anything commercially available. It’s enormously difficult. I think Jaeggi and colleagues are chipping really diligently away at this question of whether you can train fluid intelligence. It’s very likely you can, if you work out the components. Why wouldn’t you be able to get better at fluid intelligence? I do think Jaeggi and her company have done some superb work. I do hope they keep at it.”