Cognitive Science: An Introduction/Cognitive Training in Adults

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Cognitive Training in Adults[edit]

Methods for improving the cognitive abilities of adults by way of training is growing increasingly researched. Until recently, humans were thought to be at their cognitive peak in young adulthood, allowing little room for improvement. New findings have indicated that significant cognitive gains are possible long into adulthood through training.[1]

Cognitive training has been aided by research within the fields of neurogenesis. Cognitive training generally involves the practice of a single cognitive task or set of cognitive tasks. What differentiates this form of training from typical practice is that cognitive training is designed to bring about improvements in different transferable tasks. [2] Cognitive transfer is the ability to apply knowledge, skills, and practices across various situations and contexts. The cognitive form of training leads to improvements in the ability or abilities targeted. Such improvements have also been correlated with functional and structural changes in the brain, for example, connectivity in the frontoparietal network. [3] What remains a matter of discussion, however, is the potential for such a course of action to evoke substantial improvements outside of the trained abilities. Early findings of transfer [4] have failed to replicate in several other studies[5] resulting in some degree of skepticism over the validity of the rationale.[6] In this context, more recent studies have emphasized the need to understand the underlying mechanisms of such inconsistencies to offer better, more powerful interventions.[7] [8]

Embodied perspective[edit]

An embodied perspective can assist in understanding cognitive training in adults. Embodied cognition may be described as a perspective on cognition that is deeply rooted within the features of the physical body. [9] Research in embodied cognition explores how aspects of the human body other than the brain may play a significant role in cognitive processing. This view expands upon the traditional perspective in cognitive science, that human cognition is an internally bounded system.

Research in embodied cognition may study the interrelation between motor processes[10], spatial abilities [11], working memory [12], language[13], problem-solving [14], and reasoning.[15] Supporting evidence derives from studies of motor expertise, in which expert agents have been found to perform above average in assessments of perception, working memory capacity, attention, long-term memory, and decision making. [16][17][18]

Various approaches have been documented, including simple physical exercise, purely cognitive training, and various hybrid forms of training. Various studies of cognitive training affirm that complex forms of physical exercise outperform more impoverished exercise workouts. For example, wrestling involves complex, unusual motor coordination and appears to elicit greater improvements in measures of spatial ability and working memory capacity compared to running, a largely automatized activity.[19] Evidence also suggests that dance can be particularly well-adapted to cognitive training designs.[20] Further, juggling has shown to induce gains in mental imagery rotation performance[21], as does practicing musical instruments that involve complex motor coordination.[22]

References[edit]

  1. Salthouse, T. A., & Davis, H. P. (2006). Organization of cognitive abilities and neuropsychological variables across the lifespan. Developmental Review, 26(1), 31–54. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2005.09.001
  2. Ericsson, K., Krampe, R., & Tesch-Römer, C. (1993). The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological Review, 100(3), 363–406. doi: 10.1037/0033-295x.100.3.363
  3. Caeyenberghs, K., Metzler-Baddeley, C., Foley, S., & Jones, D. K. (2016). Dynamics of the Human Structural Connection Underlying Working Memory Training. The Journal of Neuroscience, 36(14), 4056–4066. doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.1973-15.2016
  4. Au, J., Sheehan, E., Tsai, N., Duncan, G. J., Buschkuehl, M., & Jaeggi, S. (2014). Improving Fluid Intelligence With Training on Working Memory: A Meta-Analysis. PsycEXTRA Dataset. doi: 10.1037/e524912015-029
  5. Redick, T., Shipstead, Z., Harrison, T., Hicks, K., Fried, D., Hambrick, D., … Engle, R. (2013). No evidence of intelligence improvement after working memory training: A randomized, placebo-controlled study. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 142(2), 359–379. doi: 10.1037/a0029082
  6. Moreau, D., & Conway, A. (2014). The case for an ecological approach to cognitive training. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 18(7), 334–336. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2014.03.009
  7. Redick, T., Shipstead, Z., Harrison, T., Hicks, K., Fried, D., Hambrick, D., … Engle, R. (2013). No evidence of intelligence improvement after working memory training: A randomized, placebo-controlled study. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 142(2), 359–379. doi: 10.1037/a0029082
  8. Moreau, E., & Mageau, G. (2011). The importance of perceived autonomy support for the psychological health and work satisfaction of health professionals: Not only supervisors count, colleagues too! Motivation and Emotion, 36(3), 268–286. doi: 10.1007/s11031-011-9250-9
  9. Wilson, R. A., & Foglia, L. (2015). Embodied Cognition. Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/embodied-cognition/
  10. Furley, P., & Memmert, D. (2010). Differences in Spatial Working Memory as a Function of Team Sports Expertise: The Corsi Block-Tapping Task in Sport Psychological Assessment. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 110(3), 801–808. doi: 10.2466/pms.110.3.801-808
  11. Pfister, R., Janczyk, M., & Kunde, W. (2013). Editorial: Action effects in perception and action. Frontiers in Psychology, 4. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00223
  12. Moreau, D. (2013). Motor expertise modulates movement processing in working memory. Acta Psychologica, 142(3), 356–361. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.01.011
  13. Beilock, S., Lyons, I., Mattarella-Micke, A., Nusbaum, H., & Small, S. (2008). Sports experience changes the neural processing of action language. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(36), 13269–13273. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0803424105
  14. Broaders, S., Cook, S., Mitchell, Z., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2007). Making children gesture brings out implicit knowledge and leads to learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 136(4), 539–550. doi: 10.1037/0096-3445.136.4.539
  15. Beilock, S., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2009). Gesture changes thought by grounding it in action. PsycEXTRA Dataset. doi: 10.1037/e520562012-295
  16. Dijkstra, K., Macmahon, C., & Misirlisoy, M. (2008). The effects of golf expertise and presentation modality on memory for golf and everyday items. Acta Psychologica, 128(2), 298–303. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2008.03.001
  17. Furley, P., & Memmert, D. (2010). Differences in Spatial Working Memory as a Function of Team Sports Expertise: The Corsi Block-Tapping Task in Sport Psychological Assessment. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 110(3), 801–808. doi: 10.2466/pms.110.3.801-808
  18. Raab, M., & Johnson, J. (2007). Expertise-based differences in search and option-generation strategies. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 13(3), 158–170. doi: 10.1037/1076-898x.13.3.158
  19. Moreau, D., & Conway, A. (2014). The case for an ecological approach to cognitive training. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 18(7), 334–336. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2014.03.009
  20. Bläsing, B., Calvo-Merino, B., Cross, E. S., Jola, C., Honisch, J., & Stevens, C. J. (2012). Neurocognitive control in dance perception and performance. Acta Psychologica, 139(2), 300–308. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2011.12.005
  21. Jansen, P., Lehmann, J., & Doren, J. V. (2012). Mental Rotation Performance in Male Soccer Players. PLoS ONE, 7(10). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0048620
  22. Pietsch, S., & Jansen, P. (2012). Different mental rotation performance in students of music, sport and education. Learning and Individual Differences, 22(1), 159–163. doi: 10.1016/j.lindif.2011.11.012