Lumosity to Pay $2M for Deceiving Customers
Its brain games are not proven to stave off cognitive decline
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2016 1:36 PM CST
This undated photo provided by Evan Hiltunen shows David Drescher using Lumosity.   (AP Photo/Evan Hiltunen)

(Newser) – Vitaminwater isn't actually a health drink, Almond Breeze might not actually have many almonds in it, and Lumosity may not actually protect your brain from cognitive impairment. The so-called "brain training" company, which offers users online and mobile app subscriptions for the use of its "cognitive games," will pay $2 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived customers, NBC News reports. "Lumosity preyed on consumers' fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer's disease," an FTC rep says in a news release. "But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads." The settlement will include redress payments made to customers. Lumosity advertised on NPR, CNN, and Fox News, among other places, Reuters reports.

Lumosity told users that by playing its games for 10 to 15 minutes, three or four times per week, they could achieve their "full potential in every aspect of life." (Sample headline about this recent development: "Lumosity Has to Pay $2 Million for Lying About Its Bullshit Brain Games.") A review of the Lumosity website on Tuesday finds that it appears to have shifted its focus; the company now says it's "exploring new ways to understand human cognition" and doing "in-house research explores many topics, from brain training to how sleep and mood interact with our training program." As for what users get, expectations have been downgraded a bit to simply the opportunity to "challenge their brains." Lumosity also failed to disclose the fact that it solicited some of the testimonials featured on its website via contests that offered big prizes. Lumosity says in a statement that the settlement relates only to "marketing language that has been discontinued," and not to the quality of the product it offers.