Calling all MENSA wannabes, train your brain

Mensa-wannabees rejoice – you can massage your neuroplasticity with a Mensa-supported Brain Training Zone by Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Labs. It’s a site with hundreds of brain training games, puzzles and IQ tests “to get your cognitive thinking up to scratch”.

All this Brain Training Zone stuff is just pre-training for you to enter “Global Think Test Day”, an online event that Kaspersky Labs is running in partnership with Mensa on September 6. The point of Global Think Test Day (apart from a $25K prize for consumers and publicity for Kaspersky) is to get people smart enough to avoid cyber threats.

In a press release, Kaspersky Labs says “As the online world is increasingly populated with threats, common sense plays an extremely important role. Users need to be able to identify a potentially dangerous situation quickly – and often that means acting contrary to our normal instincts. As social beings, we are led by basic principles such as trust, authority, helpfulness, curiosity and reciprocation, all of which can be abused by cybercriminals. Therefore, we need to train our brains to make the right decisions fast, and Kaspersky Lab has designed the Global Think Test to see if users have what it takes.”

Chief executive Eugene Kaspersky says, “We can avoid so many threats by simply being alert… in most cases there are tell-tale signs that a website is fake. If you’re not distracted by other things and are trained to stay focused, you should be able to spot them.”

As Scientific American wrote a couple of years ago, there is some evidence brain training can work. Mayo Clinic research found cognitively normal older adults who trained their brain were able to improve their auditory information processing speed by about 58 percent (versus 7 percent in controls).

Kaspersky Lab has hooked up with Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and Formula One racing team Scuderia Ferrari so there’s a fair bit of motorsport and cricketing content on the site, in case you were wondering.

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