The application is in the field of adult neurogenesis, neural stem cells and cellular therapy. It aims to characterize the activity of nootropic agents on adult neurogenesis in vitro. Nootropic agents are substances improving cognitive and mental abilities. AMPA (alpha-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionate) and nootropic agents were assessed for the potential to differentiate human neural progenitor and stem cells into neuronal cells in vitro. They were also tested for their behavioural activity on the novel object recognition task. AMPA, piracetam, FK-960 and SGS-111 induce and stimulate neuronal differentiation of human-derived neural progenitor and stem cells. SGS-111 increases the number of visits to the novel object. The neurogenic activity of piracetam and SGS-111 is mediated through AMPA receptor. The neurogenic activity of SGS-111 may contribute and play a role in its nootropic activity. These results suggest that nootropic agents may elicit some of their effects through their neurogenic activity. The application claims the use of nootropic agents for their neurogenic activity and for the treatment of neurological diseases, disorders and injuries, by stimulating or increasing the generation of neuronal cells in the adult brain.