While subjective results are also relevant in regard to nootropics use (a better mood leads to a better performance), measuring results through objective tools is a more reliable indicator that your new compound is working for you or not. For the racetam family of nootropics, there are three main benefits. Two of them are problematic to track, including the neuroprotection and reduction of alcohol-related neurotoxicity.Nonetheless, you can track the effects on standard, passive-avoidance tests of learning and memory.
Unless you have access to a perception and cognition lab, your best option is to conduct a self-tracking single-subject design experiment. You do not need to be an experimental psychologist for this aim, but just determination and self-discipline.
I. First, you need a baseline assessment. Before starting with any new compound, it is essential to get a comprehensive understanding of your “natural” cognitive abilities beforehand. This information will provide you with the standard which you will compare later data. Quantified Mind is a tool that has adapted tests used by psychologists to quantify the effects of interventions on our cognitive processes. Here you can see what sort of tasks you perform best at different times of the day, how does eating breakfast affect your mind, how does coffee your reaction time, and even if sex is good for you (in terms of productivity!). It is certainly a good place to begin with. However, If you are looking for something rather exhaustive, Cambridge Brain Sciences is the way to go: Memory, Reasoning, Concentration, and Planning are objectively measured here, with the option of comparing yourself to other people like you.
Take the “IQ Challenge” provided in the webpage, which consists of 13 short tests that see how you do across all the key areas. According to your performance, an estimate of your intelligence will be provided, with your individual test scores relative to the general population.
II. Now that you have a better grasp of how your natural capabilities are, you conduct an intervention assessment. While taking the cognitive enhancer of your choice, you compare your new results with your initial standard for an accurate measurement of what the compound is doing for you. The answer to the question “How long should I take a particular nootropic before assessing results?” is unclear, and it varies with each experimental compound . At least for Noopept and Piracetam , clinical trials go as early as 21 days . However, to make things more
complicated, neuronal changes do not necessarily correlate with substantial psychological changes, so expecting consequential results in a few days is probably too optimistic.
III. Thirdly, interpretation assessment. Now that you have your initial standards, your intervention assessments, and your final results, you are ready to evaluate how much does substance X has done for you. It is up to you to continue using a compound even if you have not improved your performance, yet remember that the more supplements used, the higher the chances of contraindications and undesirable side-effects.
Finally, most of us are concerned -and hence skeptical- of the recurrent optimistic statistical results we get from these cognitive tests. Indeed, there is a clear possibility that you are just getting better because of the practice, and there is actually no transfer effects to other related cognitive areas. The evidence is not clear , thus existing research is just scratching the surface of addressing all the potential of this question. Nevertheless, these games are likely to make you feel more motivated towards cognitive enhancement, and are a safe “thermometer” for your nootropics usage: at the least, you can assess that they are not being detrimental for you. Enjoy!