Lumos Labs and its founders have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they deceived consumers with various claims made about the benefits of using their ‘brain training’ program, Lumosity.
Awhile back, I wrote about what science had to say about the effectiveness of ‘brain training’ programs and noted the distinct lack of scientific research supporting industry claims. As such, the FTC’s action against Lumos Labs and its founders comes as little surprise. The science just isn’t there and it never was.
“Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.”
As part of the settlement, Lumos Labs will be required to take several steps to make customers whole. Lumosity subscribers will be notified by Lumos Labs of the settlement and findings. The FTC also requires that subscribers be given an easy way to cancel their subscriptions going forward. The parent company will receive a suspended $50 million judgment after the $2 million settlement paid to the FTC.
As for the science? Well, the FTC will be keeping a close watch on Lumos Labs, requiring them “to have competent and reliable scientific evidence before making future claims about any benefits for real-world performance, age-related decline, or other health conditions.”
For more information about the settlement and the actions taken by the FTC, you can read the public release here.