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The Effects of Working-Memory Training on Cognitive Performance in Young Adults PowerPoint Presentation
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The Effects of Working-Memory Training on Cognitive Performance in Young Adults

The Effects of Working-Memory Training on Cognitive Performance in Young Adults

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The Effects of Working-Memory Training on Cognitive Performance in Young Adults

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  1. The Effects of Working-Memory Training on Cognitive Performance in Young Adults Anna Ing, UNCW Honors Student Supervisor: Jeffrey P. Toth, Ph.D. Department of Psychology, UNCW ABSTRACT Trivia Poker Art Dealer Working-memory--the ability to temporarily remember and manipulate information--has been the focus of recent research, due to the central role it is thought to play in both intelligence and age-related cognitive decline. At the same time, research on the effects of computer games has led to the creation of game-based training programs that may improve cognition, and slow, reverse, or prevent age-related cognitive decline. Research in the UNCW Aging & Cognitive Training (ACT) Lab has been involved in this research effort by using computer games that incorporate training principles into game play. One game (Art Dealer) trains recollection, a high-level form of long-term memory that shows significant age-related decline. Initial research with Art Dealer has suggested that it can improve recollection and related abilities in older adults. The second game (Trivia Poker) targets working-memory and is the focus of my current research which is directed at improving working-memory in UNCW students. • Art Dealer is based on an Avoiding Repetitions/Incremented Difficulty training procedure that has been shown to increase memory in older adults2. The procedure works by requiring players to increasingly rely on recollection, an executive form of memory, in order to override familiarity, an automatic form of memory. The game builds on this training procedure, adding a number of game elements (e.g., classic art, a virtual partner, financial decisions) to increase challenge, interest, & motivation to play. • Trivia Poker is based on working-memory (WM) "span" tasks that have been linked to frontal-lobe activity and are strongly correlated with fluid intelligence4. • In addition to adding motivational game elements (e.g., poker hands), the game uses multiple forms of "trivia" (math questions, foreign-language vocabulary, pop culture) that can train general knowledge in addition to working memory skills. Game Play Game Play Background Neurogenesis. Contrary to prior assumptions, humans generate new neurons throughout the lifetime, including in the hippocampus and possibly in the frontal lobe. Neuroplasticity. Neuroimaging results have shown that older adults retain the ability to alter the structure & function their brains based on experience. Computer Games & Cognition. Commercial computer games have been shown to improve many cognitive abilities1. The potential of these games may increase by weaving science-based training principles into the fabric of game play. The games shown here were developed by Minds Refined LLC and are based on published cognitive-training principles. Each of the 28 rounds begins with a brief artist biography... …followed by presentation of 16 'original' paintings by the selected artist. The player then tries to buy these originals at an art sale while avoiding any forgeries. Age-related Cognitive Decline. Cognitive skills underlying executive functions and fluid intelligence begin to decline in a person's 20's or 30's. Fluid Intelligence. The ability to adapt thinking to a new problem or situation. One to five cards are dealt face up and then turned face down. A timed 'trivia' question is then asked. Answering it correctly puts money in the 'Trivia Pot'. After the sale, players get feedback from their financier… …and can visit their art gallery to view their paintings… …or sell some in order to pay off any outstanding loans. • The are currently about 40 million seniors (65+) in the U.S. • By 2030, the number of seniors is expected to be about 70 million (20% of the population). • In NC, the number of seniors is expected to double by 2030, with those 75+ going up 150%. Research But to win the money in the Trivia Pot, players must recall their cards in the order they were presented. For correctly recalled hands, players are given the option to 'double-down', playing their hand against the dealer's. • An initial study (n=22) examined whether Art Dealer could increase cognitive abilities in older adults3. Research • Compared to a control group, those who played Art Dealer for ~8 hours showed increases in working memory, long-term memory, & processing speed, and also showed generalization to verbal stimuli. • Two lines of research are being conducted with Trivia Poker, one focused on assessing WM, the other on training WM. • We are replicating this study and extending it to patients with traumatic brain injury & early dementia. • My research focuses on the training version in which students are given the game to play for seven days between two assessment sessions. Training with Commercial Games Training with Theory-Based Games Future Directions Training Efficacy & Neurocognitive Theory References Green, C.S. & Bavelier, D. (2003). Action video games modify visual attention. Nature, 423, 534-537. 2. Jennings, J.M. & Jacoby, L.L. (2003). Improving memory in older adults: Training recollection. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 13, 417-440. 3. Toth, J.P., Daniels, K., & Jacoby, L. L. Art Dealer: A computer game for enhancing cognition in older adults. Unpublished manuscript. 4. Kane, M. J., & Engle, R. W. (2002). The role of prefrontal cortex in working-memory capacity, executive attention, and general fluid intelligence: An individual-differences perspective. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 9, 637-671. 5. Colcombe, S.J. et al. (2006). Aerobic exercise training increases brain volume in aging humans. Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, 61A, 1166-1170. Combining Cognitive Training with Aerobic Exercise • Proven training principles have been developed for a number of cognitive skills including multi-tasking & face-name learning. • One of most critical issues in this area is understanding why particular training games work. Addressing that issue requires one to confront some of the most complex questions about human cognition and its neural basis. • Research has shown increased brain volume & cognitive skill following aerobic exercise5. An exciting possibility is that combining the two may produce even greater gains in performance. • Commercial video games can improve cognitive skills1. Knowing the nature and size of these effects could lead to affordable training options for many populations. • Embedding these principles into widely-available games could improve health outcomes in a variety of domains.