How does memory training lead to cognitive benefits? Aaron Seitz, director of the Brain Game Center for mental fitness and well-being at the University of California, Riverside, has wrestled with this question for several years.
Now he and Susanne Jaeggi, an associate professor at the UC Irvine School of Education; and Anja Pahor, formerly a postdoctoral researcher at UCR; are ready to address it by launching a nationwide project that seeks to engage 30,000 people in different variants of memory training through apps developed by the Brain Game Center.
Results from the project can be transformative toward understanding how cognitive skills can be trained and how people may vary in their propensities for such training.
Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the project aims to determine for whom certain training methods work best.
About the study:
Seitz, Aaron R.; Jaeggi, Susanne Madlaina
- Public Health Relevance: The proposed research is relevant to public health in that it will lead to greater understanding of, and creation of more effective, behavioral interventions for those with cognitive impairments. This research is aligned with the NIMH RDoC framework as working memory deficits exist in a wide range of mental health conditions, cases of disease and brain damage, and are associated with age-related cognitive decline. Targeted training to improve working memory has potential to give rise to personalized interventions that can be used on an outpatient basis. In addition to alignment with NIMH, this proposed research cuts across the bounds of numerous NIH agencies, with our framework contributing to the missions of the NCI, NEI, NIA, NIAAA, NINCD, NIDA, NINDS, in that all of these agencies work with populations who can gain direct benefits from successful approaches to mental fitness.
Participation in the study is free and requires a commitment of a few weeks. Participants will play a memory training program, complete a few cognitive tests, and fill out brief questionnaires anonymously. Data is downloaded into a server at UCR. Participants can complete all sessions at home using their tablets or smartphones. They may drop out at any time.
Each session lasts 20–30 minutes. Participants are asked to complete two sessions a day and at least 10 sessions a week. Prizes can be won at weekly giveaways that will be hosted by the Brain Game Center. Participants have a chance to win an iPad in a monthly giveaway.
To participate in the project, people can sign up here, where additional information about the study can be found.
The Study in Context:
- Solving the Brain Fitness Puzzle Is the Key to Self-Empowered Aging
- Can brain training work? Yes, if it meets these 5 conditions
- Three quick brain teasers to exercise your working memory
- Why stress regulation and working memory are core building blocks of lifelong resilience
- Study finds mixed results of Adderall as cognitive enhancer (seems to boost emotion more than cognition)
- 25 fun Brain Teasers and Puzzles for teens and adults of any age
- What are cognitive abilities and how to boost them?