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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


The ultimate in transfer from brain training to real-world outcomes: Reducing the risk of at-fault accidents by almost 50%


Can you train your brain to dri­ve longer into your gold­en years? (CTV News):

For the elder­ly, the loss of a driver’s licence could mean the end of inde­pen­dence and the begin­ning of a decline in health, with far-reach­ing con­se­quences in their dai­ly lives…New assis­tive dri­ving tech­nolo­gies seem like an obvi­ous solu­tion in the years to come, but buy­ing new vehi­cles can be too expen­sive; while options like going for adult dri­ving lessons can be too great a blow to some seniors’ pride. Now, sci­en­tists claim that there’s anoth­er option avail­able to help old­er dri­vers main­tain their abil­i­ties on the road.

Cog­ni­tive train­ing games like those avail­able from com­pa­nies like Posit Sci­ence or Cog­nifit claim to be able to make you a bet­ter dri­ver through online exer­cis­es that take only min­utes a day to complete…they offer exer­cis­es that specif­i­cal­ly tar­get men­tal abil­i­ties like atten­tion, pro­cess­ing speed, and nav­i­ga­tion, which direct­ly affect a person’s dri­ving abil­i­ties, rather than mere­ly show­ing an increase in gen­er­al motor skills…Researchers found that the use of brain train­ing games designed to improve speed of pro­cess­ing had the great­est effect on par­tic­i­pants, reduc­ing the risk of at-fault acci­dents by almost 50 per cent over a six-year fol­low-up peri­od. They also found that par­tic­i­pants who did speed of pro­cess­ing train­ing were 40 per cent less like­ly to cease dri­ving over the sub­se­quent three years than those who were in the con­trol group.

And you have to keep in mind peo­ple were doing between ten and 18 hours of train­ing,” said Ross, “and we’re find­ing those effects – that’s huge.”

While the results of brain train­ing seem promis­ing, it’s impor­tant for poten­tial users to be dis­cern­ing — not all brain train­ing is cre­at­ed equally…Users need to deter­mine what skills they as an indi­vid­ual need to improve, then find a pro­gram that fits, and is backed by rep­utable research. Sharp­Brains, an inde­pen­dent brain sci­ence appli­ca­tions mar­ket research firm, is one resource that can be use­ful, offer­ing a ten point check­list to help eval­u­ate whether a brain train­ing pro­gram is right for you.

Above all, Ross rec­om­mends that poten­tial users do their research before com­mit­ting to any one prod­uct – much like phys­i­cal exer­cise, cog­ni­tive train­ing is not a one-size- fits-all sit­u­a­tion.”

News in Context


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3 Responses

  1. Hav­ing con­tact­ed the author (Dr. Les­ley Ross) inter­viewed and read care­ful­ly her two most recent arti­cles on cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­grams in dri­ving ces­sa­tion, I am impressed by the promise of her research. How­ev­er, I find the sum­ma­ry above con­fus­es what she found and what Sharp­brains would like to be. I would fur­ther sug­gest that the Brain Train­ing Eval­u­a­tion List amend item 1 to state that the researchers are inde­pen­dent of brain-train­ing pro­grams which they are eval­u­at­ing. See my most recent two blog pieces for addi­tion­al thoughts.

    • Hi David,

      Some good sug­ges­tions there — would you like to con­tribute a brief arti­cle to Sharp­Brains based on your inter­ac­tion with Dr. Ross and your review of those rel­e­vant papers? Just con­tact me if you’re inter­est­ed 🙂

  2. John B says:

    Thank you for post­ing. Train­ing the brain for dif­fer­ent tasks (whater­ev­er those may be) requires effort but is a reward­ing process.

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