Brain Training Apps

Published: 7.23.2017
Level 5   |   Time: 5:28
Accent: Canadian
Source: Quirks and Quarks (7.14.2017)

TOEFL: A clip about how effective brain training apps are at making you smarter.


You can download the file [ HERE ].


triangle Directions

  1. REVIEW the vocabulary.
  2. LISTEN to the audio above.
  3. ANSWER the questions.
  4. CHECK your answers (Show Answers)

triangle Vocabulary

  • the old refrain [exp] - the common expression
  • rot [v] - harm, make rotten
  • train [v] - practice
  • engaging [v] - using
  • tax [v] - put pressure on
  • cognitive skills [n] - brain ability
  • a suite [n] - a set or group of things
  • executive function [n] - brain skills involving mental control and self-regulation
  • in the face of [exp] - during
  • screen out [phv] - remove unnecessary information
  • irrelevant [adj] - not important
  • go back and forth [exp] - alternate between two things
  • zero in on [phv] - focus on
  • rigorously [adv] - in an extremely careful way
  • assessments [n] - tests
  • distractors [n] - things that distract you
  • efficacy [n] - effectiveness
  • fMRI [n] - functional magnetic resonance imaging - brain scanning machine
  • provocative [adj] - interesting
  • ultimately [adv] - in the end
  • a real bummer [exp] - bad news

[n] - noun,  [v] - verb,  [phv] - phrasal verb,  [adj] - adjective,  [adv] - adverb,  [exp] - expression

triangle Comprehension Questions

  1. What do parents often say about playing video games?
    They are a fun.
    They are expensive.
    They are bad for your brain.

  2. What is Lumosity?
    An app that is supposed to make people smarter
    A company that measures brain activity
    A type of Pokemon

  3. What did Dr. Cable want to find out?
    Whether any video games made people smarter
    Whether brain training apps were effective
    Whether Lumosity was effective

  4. What effects do the brain training apps promise?
    They will make people smarter.
    They will improve people's memory.
    They will make people better at playing video games.

  5. What types of activities do the brain training apps focus on?
    Remembering things while being distracted
    Reading many different things at the same time
    Being able to multi-task
    Improving hand-eye coordination
    Being able to focus in on specific information

  6. What is an example of one of these activities?
    Being able to make a phone call and play a game at the same time
    Remembering 10 different phone numbers at the same time
    Remembering a phone number while being talked to

  7. What is the Stroop Task?
    Remembering the color of words
    Saying the color a word is written in
    Writing words in numerous different colors

  8. How do designers want people to use these games?
    People use them instead of playing regular video games.
    People use them while they are studying or learning other things.
    People use them again and again until they improve.

  9. Who did they compare the brain training app users to?
    Regular video game users
    People who didn't play any video games
    People who read a lot

  10. How did they assess people's cognitive ability and improvement?
    They tested their working memory.
    They measured their brain activity.
    They evaluated their decision making.

  11. How did they measure brain activity?
    They asked the people many questions.
    They used an fMRI.
    They measured how long people slept.

  12. What effects did the brain training apps have?
    The same as playing regular video games
    They improved people's memory marginally.

triangle TOEFL Questions

  1. What is the discussion mainly about?
    (A) The effectiveness of brain training apps
    (B) How brain training apps work
    (C) The most recent brain training apps
    (D) The best way to improve intelligence

  2. Lumosity is an example of ____.
    (A) a popular brain training app
    (B) the most effective brain training app
    (C) a brain training app that is also fun
    (D) a company that tests brain training apps

  3. The purpose/promise of apps like Lumosity is ____.
    (A) to entertain people
    (B) to improve people's memory
    (C) to make people smarter
    (D) to save time

  4. Which type of brain training activity does the professor NOT mention?
    (A) Memory activities
    (B) Focusing activities
    (C) Multi-tasking activities
    (D) Speed reading activities

  5. Which image is an example of a Stroop Task?
    (A) image
    (B) image
    (C) image
    (D) image

  6. The professor states the games are designed ____.
    (A) to get harder and harder as you use them
    (B) to help people who experience memory loss
    (C) to be more fun than regular video games
    (D) to improve people's intelligence through repeatedly playing the games

  7. What does the host mean when he says this?

    (A) His parents thought video games were a waste of time.
    (B) His parents thought video games made people smarter.
    (C) His parents often encouraged him to play video games.
    (D) His parents thought he used brain training apps too much.

  8. What did the professor expect to find out before he started his experiment?
    (A) He expected the brain training apps to be effective.
    (B) He expected video games to more effective than brain training apps.
    (C) He expected brain training games to be ineffective.
    (D) He expected people to enjoy the brain training apps a lot.

  9. Why did the professor test people playing regular video games?
    (A) To show that video games were also effective
    (B) To compare brain training apps to regular video games
    (C) To measure memory loss caused by playing video games
    (D) To keep people interested in the study

  10. According to the professor, what is working memory?
    (A) Being able to remember things while awake
    (B) Being able to remember information while working
    (C) Being able to remember things while being distracted
    (D) Being able to remember things while under the influence of alcohol

  11. According to the professor, why did they measure brain activity with fMRI scans?
    (A) To see if the brain training apps actually changed people's brain
    (B) To maintain the safety of the people being tested
    (C) To compare to brain scans of normal people
    (D) To measure memory loss

  12. What were the three things that they evaluated and measured in the study?
    (A) Brain activity
    (B) Decision making
    (C) Game scores
    (D) Focusing ability
    (E) Hours using the game
    (F) IQ

  13. What was the conclusion of the study?
    (A) Brain training apps are improving.
    (B) Brain training apps are very effective.
    (C) Brain training apps are marginally effective.
    (D) Brain training apps are not effective.

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