Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Icon

Can trained older brains outperform untrained younger ones at demanding cognitive tasks? Quick answer: YES

__________

Online brain games can extend in-game ‘cog­ni­tive youth’ into old age (Sci­ence News):

A Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Irvine-led study has found that online brain game exer­cis­es can enable peo­ple in their 70s and even 80s to mul­ti­task cog­ni­tive­ly as well as indi­vid­u­als 50 years their junior. This is an increas­ing­ly valu­able skill, giv­en today’s dai­ly infor­ma­tion onslaught, which can divide atten­tion and be par­tic­u­lar­ly tax­ing for old­er adults

The find­ings, pub­lished in Pro­ceed­ings of the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences, under­score the cog­ni­tive cost of mul­ti­task­ing, which dilutes func­tion by split­ting focus, as well as the ways in which peo­ple across the lifes­pan can over­come the brain drain brought on by both the increas­ing­ly clut­tered mul­ti­me­dia envi­ron­ment and the nat­ur­al aging process.

For the study, Steyvers and his col­leagues part­nered with Lumos­i­ty, an online plat­form that offers a vari­ety of dai­ly brain train­ing games … Of the mil­lions of peo­ple who played the game between 2012 and 2017, researchers ran­dom­ly sam­pled the per­for­mance of about 1,000 users with­in two cat­e­gories: those who ranged in age from 21 to 80 and had com­plet­ed few­er than 60 train­ing ses­sions; and adults 71 to 80 who had logged at least 1,000 ses­sions.

They found that the major­i­ty of old­er and high­ly prac­ticed play­ers were able to match or exceed the per­for­mance of younger users who had not played very much.”

The Study:

A large-scale analy­sis of task switch­ing prac­tice effects across the lifes­pan (Pro­ceed­ings of the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences)

  • Abstract: An impor­tant fea­ture of human cog­ni­tion is the abil­i­ty to flex­i­bly and effi­cient­ly adapt behav­ior in response to con­tin­u­ous­ly chang­ing con­tex­tu­al demands. We lever­age a large-scale dataset from Lumos­i­ty, an online cog­ni­tive-train­ing plat­form, to inves­ti­gate how cog­ni­tive process­es involved in cued switch­ing between tasks are affect­ed by lev­el of task prac­tice across the adult lifes­pan. We devel­op a com­pu­ta­tion­al account of task switch­ing that spec­i­fies the tem­po­ral dynam­ics of acti­vat­ing task-rel­e­vant rep­re­sen­ta­tions and inhibit­ing task-irrel­e­vant rep­re­sen­ta­tions and how they vary with extend­ed task prac­tice across a num­ber of age groups. Prac­tice mod­u­lates the lev­el of acti­va­tion of the task-rel­e­vant rep­re­sen­ta­tion and improves the rate at which this infor­ma­tion becomes avail­able, but has lit­tle effect on the task-irrel­e­vant rep­re­sen­ta­tion. While long-term prac­tice improves per­for­mance across all age groups, it has a greater effect on old­er adults. Indeed, exten­sive task prac­tice can make old­er indi­vid­u­als func­tion­al­ly sim­i­lar to less-prac­ticed younger indi­vid­u­als, espe­cial­ly for cog­ni­tive mea­sures that focus on the rate at which task-rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion becomes avail­able.

The Study in Context:

Leave a Reply...

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply

Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Education & Lifelong Learning, Health & Wellness, Technology

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About SharpBrains

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.

Search in our archives

Follow us and Engage via…

twitter_logo_header
RSS Feed

Watch All Recordings Now (40+ Speakers, 12+ Hours)