Brain Training App 'Lumosity' to Pay $2 Million to Settle Deceptive Advertising Charges

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

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    Lumos Labs, the company behind the Lumosity app that promises to "challenge your brain" using a daily training program of cognitive games, will pay out $2 million to settle deceptive advertising charges brought against it by the United States Federal Trade Commission.

    According to the FTC, Lumos Labs deceived consumers by telling them the games in Lumosity would help them perform better at work, get better scores on standardized tests, and stave off the decline of cognitive impairment related to age or disease. It also claimed its games could help with conditions like dementia and Alzheimer's disease, as well as improving cognitive impairment associated with conditions like stroke, traumatic brain injury, PTSD, ADHD, chemotherapy, and more.

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    Available in the iOS App Store, Lumosity offers a selection of more than 50 cognitive games it claims were developed by scientists and game designers to train the brain. While a basic membership to access a limited number of games is free, a membership costs from $6.70 to $11.95 per month or up to $299.95 for a lifetime pass.

    Lumosity TV, Internet, radio, and social media advertisements suggested customers could play the games for 10 to 15 minutes three or four times per week to achieve "full potential in every aspect of life," and falsely claimed its health related benefits were backed by scientific studies.

    Lumos Labs is facing a $50 million judgement, but the FTC has agreed to suspend the full amount due to Lumos Labs' financial position. Instead, the company will pay $2 million and will agree not to make future health and performance claims without "competent and reliable scientific evidence." Lumos Labs is also ordered to notify subscribers about the FTC action and provide them with a way to cancel their subscriptions.

    Lumosity is just one of many "brain training" apps available in the App Store. Elevate, another highly popular brain training app that's been highlighted by Apple, claims its app will help improve "critical cognitive skills" to "boost productivity," but it shies away from making the deceptive health-related claims that got Lumosity in hot water.

    Article Link: Brain Training App 'Lumosity' to Pay $2 Million to Settle Deceptive Advertising Charges
     
  2. mabaker macrumors 65816

    mabaker

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  3. 0815 macrumors 68000

    0815

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    good - I did a free trial once (one month), but that trial only confirmed my suspicion that this app (or better its advertisement) is BS. Games are fun at first, but get boring fast and I don't see how they would improve anything like they claim.

    Just another example how companies make money by playing with the fears of people (and lying to people).

    They might have some success if they would advertise it as what it is: a time killing game collection .... (better than flappy bird)
     
  4. BMcCoy macrumors 65816

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    It's a controversial area, and a difficult one to scientifically study.. with confounders of placebo effect and confirmation bias.
    There are studies suggesting these apps are beneficial in certain circumstances, but even those studies have been subject to critical analysis.
    Certainly it is too early to make big claims, especially about preventing disease like dementia.
     
  5. Piggie macrumors 604

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    Are companies allowed to sell Homeopathy medicine in the US ?
     
  6. Waxhead138 macrumors 6502

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    "full potential in every aspect of life,"

    Phrases like the above (when used in advertising any product) are about as reputable as the Nigerian Prince who just needs my bank account number to store a portion of his vast wealth until he completes his journey.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 5, 2016, Original Post Date: Jan 5, 2016 ---
    I think so....but I don't think they can exactly sell it as medicine, or at the very least somewhere on the label it has to show the "not endorsed by the FDA" or something to that effect. It can still be misleading to say the least.
     
  7. Kaibelf macrumors 65816

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  8. AbSoluTc macrumors 68040

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    Hope makes people do stupid things.
     
  9. freepomme Suspended

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    I KNEW it was a phony! It's a BIG FAT PHONY! I want my compensation!
     
  10. 0815 macrumors 68000

    0815

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    Yes - and some medical insurances (very few) even pay for homeopathic treatments. Of course the insurance through my current employer does not (previous insurance did - but the medical insurance I have for my dog does, but only for the dog :) )
     
  11. windywalks macrumors 6502

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    The sole price of the app's subscription is enough to deter me - I just don't think it's worth it.
    The fact, that it made laughable claims about it's efficaciousness just proves me right for not even trying it.

    Games definitely stimulate your brain in areas you don't necessarily use in day-to-day life, but giving people the false hope, that playing them will unlock abilities they don't necessarily poses in the first place is just wrong.
    I remember playing a Wii game at my friends place, that said you only use 10% of your brain. It all sounded like hogwash even without studies.

    You might as well spend those 300 bucks on a relaxing weekend trip, it will definitely help you're productivity.
     
  12. gaximus macrumors 6502a

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    Then why did you buy it if you knew it was fake?
     
  13. windywalks macrumors 6502

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    You just made me chuckle a bit there :D
     
  14. teslo macrumors 6502a

    teslo

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    why drag Elevate into this? claiming that 'solving puzzles improves brain function' is fair game and implies nothing extraordinary, like Luminosity attempted - their app summary brags about being scientifically engineered.. unless there are nefarious Elevate ads or marketing materials that are flying under the radar, leave them out of it.
     
  15. 4jasontv macrumors 6502

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    You are probably correct, but I think the games health benefits (if they exist) would depend upon your ability to endure the repetitiveness and improve your score day over day. After all, if you are able to recall longer and longer sequences then chances are your memory isn't degrading.
     
  16. slester macrumors member

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    They should have to pay everyone who has ever had to sit through one of their incredibly lame television commercials. They used to make me shudder and want to throw something at my television.
     
  17. 4jasontv macrumors 6502

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    So I saw similar statements at University, however it was in the context of a moment. As in, you are not recalling the smell of cheeseburgers or new car when you start to cut down a tree, unless you actively pursue those thoughts.
     
  18. gumbyjunior1 macrumors regular

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    If you want something that will train your brain...Learn Powershell. LOL
     
  19. freepomme Suspended

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    I didn't buy it. I knew was fake, that's why I didn't buy it. But I want the compensation for downloading it.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 5, 2016, Original Post Date: Jan 5, 2016 ---
    Everyone who played this wasted their time and we deserve money for the wasted time.
     
  20. Rafagon, Jan 5, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016

    Rafagon macrumors regular

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    From $50M down to $2M! Awfully generous, if you ask me.
     
  21. Analog Kid, Jan 5, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016

    Analog Kid macrumors 68040

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    The article says what you just said-- they were dragged in to differentiate them from Lumosity.
     
  22. UnusedLoginID macrumors member

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    I can't believe they have a Director of Clinical trials and they published this false advertising. They did not even hire a good attorney for that matter. This is 2016, Lumos, not the sixties !
     
  23. Analog Kid macrumors 68040

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    That makes much more sense... It would just be evolutionarily dumb to make an organism support an enormous organ that is 90% inert all the time.

    Of course it's also possible that we've obsoleted large parts of our brains-- like the parts that are critical to face to face communication and long term policy planning...
    --- Post Merged, Jan 5, 2016, Original Post Date: Jan 5, 2016 ---
    Or Haskell...

    I suspect tasks like that are much better at forming new connections in your brain, though I suspect their effect against the debilitating affects of aging are still limited...

    (what I need is a brain training game that improves my ability to correctly use effect and affect...)
     
  24. Kettil macrumors newbie

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    Yes, but mistakes also leads to great discoveries. Sure, hope can exploited, but it is an amazing quality. Without it, I'm pretty sure we would not be around now.
     
  25. weatherwax macrumors demi-god

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    Yeesh. Hope this is the start of a push for more honesty in advertising. Didn't I hear something about Canada having such a law?
     

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