How Cognitive Training Works
What is Cognitive Training?
Cognitive training exercises, sometimes called “brain training”, are designed to help maintain or improve cognitive abilities, like attention, working memory, and problem solving abilities. They are generally not designed for any one particular illness or diagnosis. They are often viewed as protective, or proactive measures, rather than as a reaction to a diagnosis.
How can Cognitive Training benefit me?
Studies have found that cognitive training tasks, for example to improve working memory, have led to improvements in other intelligence tasks in children (Jaeggi, Buschkuehl, Jonides & Shah, 2011). Improvements have also been shown in adults, with one study showing that adults who completed ten training sessions for memory, reasoning, and speed of processing showed improved long-term cognitive abilities compared to controls (Willis et al., 2003)
Can I get the same benefits from doing this online and on my smartphone?
Many cognitive training exercises take the format of a computer game, so they are ideally suited to be offered online. Using an online program or a smartphone to engage in cognitive training offers greater flexibility for training, allowing users to train their cognitive abilities at any time or location (e.g., on the bus, in a café, at the hospital) and without direct supervision. Studies have shown that cognitive training using a smartphone is feasible (e.g. Bless et al., 2014) and effective; for example, a group of older adults, who used a smartphone app for 15-20 minutes training per day for 8 weeks, showed improved working memory compared to controls (Oh et al., 2016).