I just saw an article in Scientific American about why brain speed is important, how it decays as we age, and what the effects are on daily life over time. But this is nothing new: we have been talking about brain speed for years!

Some highlights from the article include:

“Studies suggest that the speed of information processing changes with age… such that our thinking speeds up from childhood to adolescence, maintains a period of relative stability leading up to middle age, and finally, in late middle age and onward, declines slowly but steadily.”

“Slowed information processing affects almost every aging adult to some degree, and the line between normal and abnormal is fuzzy. “

While these assertions are certainly true, there is much more to this story. When it comes to brain speed, every millisecond counts. How quickly your brain can process events around you determines how effectively you can react to and remember those events. This has ripple effects on nearly everything you do, like how well you can follow a conversation or remember it, or how fast you react to dangers, surprises, or quickly changing conditions. And yes, your brain speed does indeed decline with age–but the great news is that there is proven evidence that you can you can retrain your brain to speed it up.

Our scientists have designed five brain training exercises that specifically target brain speed, and I like to recommend these to everyone who’s interested in improving their brain. That’s because they train the fundamental machinery of the brain to speed up, which affects every other higher-level brain function. All of the exercises are important individually, and each serves a specific purpose.

Our clinically proven brain speed exercises include:

  • Sound Sweeps is one of my favorite BrainHQ exercises, because despite its seeming simplicity, it can have profound effects on your brain speed! By distilling sound into frequency sweeps (that sound like “woops” or “weeps”) this exercise retrains your brain to recognize sounds quickly and accurately, so that you can easily understand what’s said in the moment and create crystal-clear memories of what you hear.
  • Visual Sweeps is a sight-based version of Sound Sweeps. Instead of hearing frequency sweeps, you perceive and judge different inward and outward motions that get faster and faster. We know that different types of sweeps activate different sets of brain cells (for example, one group might respond to horizontal motion, while a different group responds to vertical motion.) To exercise the highest possible number of neurons, as you move through the levels of Visual Sweeps, they change in various parameters.
  • Fine Tuning is an auditory exercise that helps your brain speed up in its sound processing so you can hear fine distinctions better. It uses sounds that are easily confusable to train the brain to hear these differences more quickly and clearly. This will allow you to stop asking people to repeat themselves and will enable you to remember things you’ve heard more clearly–because when your brain records something in a fuzzy way, you’re less likely to remember it later.
  • Eye for Detail improves your ability to make saccades (rapid eye movements) quickly, and to notice subtle details with each one. We rely on our ability to make saccades accurately and quickly so we can do things like drive safely at night while looking for a street address we’ve never visited. We need those rapid eye movements to be both fast and reliable to stay safe and find what we’re looking for.
  • Hawk Eye works on your visual precision, which helps the brain perceive what you see quickly and accurately so that you can recall it better. Visual precision is what enables you to remember details about what you saw in a movie, at a wedding, when house hunting, while birdwatching, and everywhere else you go.

In honor of Brain Awareness Week, you can also take a 5-minute brain speed test and see if your brain is as fast as mine! Give it a try and see how your brain speed stacks up. If you can’t beat me, it might be time to start your brain speed training in earnest.

(Note: this assessment is not available on mobile devices like iPhone or iPad.)