Do Fidget Cubes Help Adults Focus?

The fidget cube is a small cube-shaped toy made of plastic with various buttons, switches, and dials that was created to help people focus by occupying their idle hands. Fidget cubes have become increasingly popular among adults in recent years as a tool to help improve concentration, reduce anxiety, and manage fidgeting. But do fidget cubes actually help adults focus? Let’s take a closer look at the evidence.

What is a Fidget Cube?

A fidget cube is a palm-sized plastic cube covered on all six sides with buttons, switches, dials, and other fidget-friendly devices. The different sides include:

  • A switch that clicks back and forth
  • A rotating dial
  • A smooth ball that spins
  • Buttons that make a satisfying clicking sound when pressed
  • A switch that toggles back and forth
  • A sliding joystick

The various parts of the fidget cube give restless hands something to play with aimlessly. The idea is that this mindless tactile stimulation occupies part of the brain, allowing better focus on mental tasks. Fidget cubes are marketed as a discreet anti-fidgeting device for school, work, or other tasks requiring prolonged concentration.

Why Do People Use Fidget Cubes?

There are a few popular reasons adults use fidget cubes:

  • Improve focus – Having an outlet for unconscious fidgeting and tactile restlessness can help some people concentrate better on work, studying, or listening. The cube becomes an outlet for excess energy.
  • Relieve anxiety – Manipulating the fidget cube can help calm nerves and relieve anxiety in stressful situations like public speaking, test-taking, or social events.
  • Manage fidgeting – Those with conditions like ADHD or autism may fidget uncontrollably. A fidget cube allows them to fidget discreetly and subtly.
  • Break habits – Habitual fidgeting like nail-biting, hair-twirling, leg-bouncing can be curbed by occupying hands with a cube.

Many people also just enjoy the satisfying tactile stimulation and clicking sounds the cube provides. Fidget cubes can be a fun desk toy to play with during short work breaks.

Does Science Support Fidget Cubes for Focus?

There has not been much formal scientific research specifically on fidget cubes, but some studies provide insights into how they might affect focus:

  • One study tested fidget spinners and found they did not improve focus or attention in a group of adults with ADHD, though participants enjoyed using them. This suggests tactile toys may not enhance cognition.
  • Research shows doodling can help adults maintain focus during monotonous conference calls or lectures. Fidget cubes may provide similar tactile stimulation to doodling.
  • Simple fidgeting behaviors like tapping feet or hands has been shown to help some children with ADHD focus. The authors theorized the fidgeting provided just enough sensory input to help them concentrate without being distracting. Fidget cubes may achieve the same effect.
  • Studies on mindfulness therapies suggest that engaging in tactile experiences like worry stones improves focus by keeping people centered in the present moment during tasks requiring concentration. Fidget cubes could work similarly.

So while there is not direct evidence, some research suggests fidget cubes could plausibly enhance concentration by occupying restless hands and keeping part of the brain engaged on tactile stimulation. More studies specifically testing fidget cubes are needed.

Anecdotal Evidence on Fidget Cubes

Beyond the limited formal research, many adults report anecdotally that fidget cubes help their personal concentration, especially those with conditions like ADD, ADHD, autism, and anxiety. Reviews and testimonials indicate mixed but generally positive results on focus:

  • Many users say the cube helps them pay attention during long meetings, lectures, studying, or calms them while traveling on planes or public transit. Over 80% of reviewers give fidget cubes 4+ stars for focus enhancement.
  • Some teachers and professors report letting students use fidget cubes during tests and seeing improvements in their performance and reductions in obvious fidgeting behaviors.
  • However, some users say the cube is more distracting than helpful for concentration. They report getting absorbed in just playing with the cube.
  • Many people with anxiety, autism, or habitual fidgeting behaviors say the cube helps reduce their symptoms subtly. The cube gives an outlet for fidgeting urges.

While not definitive proof, these anecdotal reports suggest many adults do experience better concentration when using fidget cubes. The benefits seem most pronounced for those prone to restlessness, fidgeting, or anxiety.

In summary, there is limited scientific evidence so far on the effectiveness of fidget cubes for improving adult focus. Preliminary studies on related toys and the prevalent positive anecdotal reports suggest they are helpful for some people, especially those with conditions like ADHD, autism, and anxiety. More research directly testing fidget cubes for cognitive enhancement is still needed. But given the generally positive reviews and lack of downsides, it may be worthwhile giving fidget cubes a try to see if they offer focus benefits for you.