BrainHQ is a web-based cognitive training package that combines two earlier successful brain training programs: The Brain Fitness Program (for auditory processing) and InSight (for visual processing). Intended for all types of users – not only those diagnosed with cognitive deficits – BrainHQ targets five categories of cognition: Memory, Attention, Speed, People Skills, and Intelligence. The program contains 19 exercises that address each category and adapt to users’ skill level. It is also in the process of being updated with an additional module focusing on visual-spatial navigation skills. BrainHQ provides users with feedback about their progress and allows them to keep track of their scores over time and in comparison to other users. It was also released as an app for Apple devices.

Available for: PCs and Macs
Company: Posit Science
Classification: Cognitive Training Exercise
Targeted conditions: Schizophrenia, Mood Disorders, Stress & Anxiety
Target demographic: Any
Special provider necessary: No
Non-English version available: Not yet
Where to get it: from Posit Science; iTunes

Expert ratings and reviews

PsyberGuide rating: The research and support basis of the product

Total score: 10/14

Basis of research: 0/3
(no research directly related to mental health conditions)
Source of funding for the research: 2/2
Specificity of proposed intervention: 2/3
Number of consumer ratings: 3/3
Product advisory support:  1/1
Software support:  2/2

date of rating: June 2016

Explanation of the rating factors

MARS rating

Quality scores range from 1 to 5, where 5 is the maximum score


Objective quality score: 4.11

Subscale scores:

Engagement: 4.20

Functionality: 3.50

Aesthetics: 4.50

Information: 4.25

Subjective quality score: 3.38

Perceived impact score: 3.50


Rated by: Queensland University

Date of rating: August 2016

More information about the MARS scale

Expert review

No information yet.

Research on the product

Research page:

  1. Fisher, M., Holland, C., Merzenich, M. M., & Vinogradov, S. (2009). Using neuroplasticity-based auditory training to improve verbal memory in schizophrenia. The American Journal of Psychiatry166(7), 805-811. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2009.08050757
    • “One of the greatest challenges for 21st-century biomedicine is to develop an effective treatment for the cognitive dysfunction of schizophrenia. Antipsychotic medications and adjunctive cognitive-enhancing agents show little benefit thus far (1–5). Cognitive remediation trials demonstrate some efficacy (6), but a recent meta-analysis revealed a “glass ceiling” of low to medium effect sizes across a large variety of methods (7). Clearly, a fresh approach to the treatment of cognitive dysfunction in this illness is warranted.”
    • “Verbal learning and memory are among the most robustly abnormal cognitive functions in schizophrenia and are key targets for treatment. Impaired verbal memory is associated with poor community functioning and poor response to psychosocial rehabilitation programs; it may be the principal reason why the gains provided by such programs are lost once the intervention ends.”
    • “This finding indicates that although there was significant improvement on this exercise at a group level, individuals with schizophrenia vary widely in their ability to reliably increase their basic psychophysical auditory processing efficiency in response to training.”
    • “Consistent with the “neuroplasticity-based” rationale of our approach, subjects who showed the largest training-induced gains in psychophysical performance showed the most improvement in verbal working memory and global cognition.”
    • “We are encouraged by these promising initial results using a “restorative” neuroplasticity-based cognitive training method in schizophrenia, although further research is required to replicate these findings in larger, more clinically representative samples of patients and to investigate the neural processes that underlie the response to training.”
  2. Smith, G., Housen, P., Yaffe, K., Ruff, R., Kennison, R., Mahncke, H., & Zelinski, E. (2009). A cognitive training program based on principles of brain plasticity: results from the Improvement in Memory with Plasticity-based Adaptive Cognitive Training (IMPACT) study. Journal Of The American Geriatrics Society57(4), 594-603. doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2008.02167.x

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