The “Brainiest” Colleges of 2019

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Lumosity, a leading brain training company, today revealed its ranking of 2019’s Brainiest Colleges in America, based on an analysis of its database of human cognitive performance. Dartmouth College was named as the brainiest school out of 461 colleges.

The study examined results from over 75,000 college students who played brain games as part of the Lumosity Fit Test, which is offered to all new Lumosity users. These games target several different mental abilities: attention, memory, processing speed, and flexibility. This analysis draws from Lumosity’s continuously growing database with over 5 billion game plays from more than 95 million users.

“Other college rankings, like the ones in U.S. News & World Report, are based on factors ranging from academic performance to alumni giving and financial resources. What’s truly unique about the Lumosity rankings is our ability to focus instead on a student population’s core cognitive abilities,” said Bob Schafer, Ph.D., VP of Research at Lumosity. “It turns out that performance on these games is strongly correlated with standardized test scores, and many schools at the top of the list won’t surprise you. But there are also a handful of schools that you might not expect. The student bodies of these schools have memory, speed, attention and flexibility skills that make them stand out.”

Below are Lumosity’s rankings for the Top 25 Brainiest Colleges. The full rankings can be found on the Lumosity Blog.

1. Dartmouth College
2. Carnegie Mellon University
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
4. Colorado School of Mines
5. Harvard University
6. Princeton University
7. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
8. Vanderbilt University
9. California Polytechnic State University
10. Washington University in St. Louis
11. Stevens Institute of Technology
12. University of Notre Dame
13. Bucknell University
14. Missouri University of Science & Technology
15. Stanford University
16. Tufts University
17. University of Chicago
18. Northwestern University
19. Creighton University
20. Gustavus Adolphus College
21. Pacific Lutheran University
22. Brigham Young University
23. Eckerd College
24. Brown University
25. Calvin College

As with a similar 2013 analysis, the study adjusted for differences in demographics (age and gender) across different schools. The analysis was restricted to users who completed Lumosity’s three-game Fit Test and were between the ages of 17 and 24 as of August 2017. Individuals were included in the analysis if they registered using a .edu email address or connected to Lumosity via an IP address associated with a college or university during the 2017-2018 academic year. In order to improve the reliability of the findings while still providing good coverage across a large number of schools, the list includes only institutions with at least 50 users who met the inclusion criteria; this eliminated a few highly ranked schools, such as Cal Tech.

In addition, the study breaks down the college rankings by game, each of which targets a particular cognitive area. Colorado School of Mines ranked highest in Train of Thought, a game exercising Attention and Planning skills (Tuftspreviously held first place in attention in 2013), Carnegie Mellon University students had the best performance in Memory Matrix (Massachusetts Institute of Technology came in first in Memory in 2013, and now ranks second), and Dartmouth students retained their 2013 speed crown, outperforming other schools on Speed Match, an information processing game.

This analysis is an example of Lumosity’s commitment to research and advancing our understanding of human cognition. Alongside this internal research, Lumosity runs the Human Cognition Project, an initiative that facilitates the cognitive science research of groups around the world.

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