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

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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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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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