Hugh Pickens writes writes: "We are often told that the smartest cities and nations do the best and economists typically measure smart cities by education level, calculating the cities or metros with the largest percentage of college grads or the largest shares of adults with advanced degrees. Now Richard Florida writes that a new metric developed by Lumos Labs based on their cognitive training and tracking software Lumosity seeks to track "brain performance" or cognitive capacity of cities in a more direct way by measuring the cognitive performance of more than one million users in the United States who use their games against their location using IP geolocation software. Lumosity’s website offers forty games designed to sharpen a wide range of cognitive skills. Individual scores were recorded in five key cognitive areas: memory, processing speed, flexibility, attention, and problem solving.The data was normalized into a basic brain performance index controlling for age and gender. The results are shown on a map from Zara Matheson of the Martin Prosperity Institute that shows the brainy metro index across US metro areas with the top five brainy clusters in Charlottesville Virginia, Lafayette Indiana, Anchorage Alaska, Madison Wisconsin, and the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose area. The result is not driven principally by college students, according to Daniel Sternberg, the Lumosity data scientist who developed the metro brain performance measure. "Since our analysis controlled for age, the reason they score well is not simply that they have a lot of young people," says Sternberg. "Instead, our analysis seems to show that users living in university communities tend to perform better than users of the same age in other locations.""
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