Cognitive Training can Boost Sense of Control

Hav­ing a sense of con­trol over one’s life may be one of the most cru­cial mark­ers of suc­cess­ful aging. Aging indi­vid­u­als who feel in con­trol seem to know more about their health, be more like­ly to take actions to pro­tect it and thus enjoy health­i­er and longer lives.

Stud­ies have shown that peo­ple feel less in con­trol as they get old­er. Could cog­ni­tive or brain train­ing boost such feel­ing and reverse or at least coun­ter­act that trend?

A recent study says the answer is yes.Do you remem­ber the ACTIVE study? This was a large ran­dom­ized con­trolled tri­al with thou­sands of adults over 65 that includ­ed 3 types of cog­ni­tive train­ing: mem­o­ry, rea­son­ing, and speed of pro­cess­ing. The par­tic­i­pants were eval­u­at­ed over sev­er­al years. Results pub­lished in 2006 showed that peo­ple got bet­ter at the trained tasks and that this improve­ment was still present 5 years after the inter­ven­tion. The par­tic­i­pants in the speed of pro­cess­ing train­ing also improved in every­day (untrained) tasks such as read­ing road signs quickly.

.A 2010 study took the ACTIVE data and looked at the effect of the train­ing on the par­tic­i­pants’ per­son­al con­trol (sense of con­trol). Results showed that the rea­son­ing and speed of pro­cess­ing train­ings result­ed in an improve­ment in sense of control.

Why? The authors rea­soned that this was observed because the train­ing focused on main­tain­ing or improv­ing old­er adults’ cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties, which pre­served their inde­pen­dence dur­ing a peri­od of their lives when cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties and per­for­mance are usu­al­ly declining.

One more rea­son to cel­e­brate neuroplasticity!

To learn more about the ACTIVE study, check out this inter­view with Dr. Jer­ri Edward, Co-Inves­ti­ga­tor of the study.

About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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