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Study: Internet-based screening can help detect aging-related cognitive deficits

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We just came across a new and fas­ci­nat­ing sci­en­tific paper, titled Devel­op­ment and eval­u­a­tion of a self-admin­is­tered on-line test of mem­o­ry and atten­tion for mid­dle-aged and old­er adults, and pub­lished at Fron­tiers in Aging Neu­ro­science. Here is the very read­able abstract:

There is a need for rapid and reli­able Inter­net-based screen­ing tools for cog­ni­tive assess­ment in mid­dle-aged and old­er adults. We report the psy­cho­me­t­ric prop­er­ties of an on-line tool designed to screen for cog­ni­tive deficits that Read the rest of this entry »

Next in mental health, substance abuse: Preventive interventions to strengthen working memory

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Strong work­ing mem­o­ry puts brakes on prob­lem­at­ic drug use (Med­ical Xpress):

Ado­les­cents with strong work­ing mem­o­ry are bet­ter equipped to escape ear­ly drug exper­i­men­ta­tion with­out pro­gress­ing into sub­stance abuse issues…Most impor­tant in the pic­ture is exec­u­tive atten­tion, a com­po­nent of work­ing mem­o­ry that involves a person’s abil­i­ty to Read the rest of this entry »

Can brain training work? Yes, if it meets these 5 conditions

brain exerciseIn a mod­ern soci­ety we are con­front­ed with a wide range of increas­ing­ly abstract and inter­con­nect­ed prob­lems. Suc­cess­ful­ly deal­ing with such an envi­ron­ment requires a high­ly fit brain, capa­ble of adapt­ing to new sit­u­a­tions and chal­lenges through­out life. Con­se­quent­ly, we expect cross-train­ing the brain to soon become as main­stream as cross-train­ing the body is today, going beyond unstruc­tured men­tal activ­i­ty and Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Promising New Neurocognitive Intervention for Preschoolers with ADHD (TEAMS)

Although med­ica­tion treat­ment and behav­ior ther­a­py pro­vide short-term symp­to­matic relief for chil­dren with ADHD, such gains rarely per­sist after treat­ment ends. Because these treat­ments are infre­quent­ly sus­tained over extend­ed peri­ods (most chil­dren on med­ica­tion do not even remain on it for a year), few indi­vid­u­als with ADHD receive effec­tive treat­ment over the long-term. This may explain why Read the rest of this entry »

Distracted in the Workplace? Meet Maggie Jackson’s Book (Part 2 of 2)

Today we con­tin­ue the con­ver­sa­tion with Mag­gie Jack­son, author of Dis­tract­ed: The Ero­sion of Atten­tion and the Com­ing Dark Age.

You can read part 1 here.

Q — In your Har­vard Man­age­ment Update inter­view, you said that “When what we pay atten­tion to is dri­ven by the last email we received, the triv­ial and the cru­cial occu­py the same plane.” As well, it seems to be that a prob­lem is our culture’s over-ide­al­iza­tion of “always on” and “road war­rior” habits, which dis­tract from the impor­tance of exec­u­tive func­tions such as pay­ing atten­tion to one’s envi­ron­ment, set­ting up goals and plans, exe­cut­ing on them, mea­sur­ing results, and inter­nal­iz­ing learn­ing. How can com­pa­nies bet­ter equip their employ­ees for future suc­cess? Can you offer some exam­ples of com­pa­nies who have pos­i­tive cul­tures that encour­age and reward employ­ees ful­ly put their frontal lobes into good use?

A.  As I men­tioned above, we are work­ing and liv­ing in ways that under­mine our abil­i­ty to strate­gize, focus, reflect, inno­vate. Skim­ming, mul­ti­task­ing and speed all have a place in 21st-cen­tu­ry life. But we can’t let go of deep­er skills of focus and think­ing and relat­ing, or we’ll cre­ate a soci­ety of mis­un­der­stand­ing and shal­low think­ing.

To cre­ate work­places that fos­ter strate­gic think­ing, deep social con­nec­tion and inno­va­tion, we need to take three steps:

First, ques­tion the val­ues that ven­er­ate McThink­ing and under­mine atten­tion. Recent­ly, my morn­ing paper car­ried a front-page sto­ry about efforts in an age of impa­tience to cre­ate a quick-boot com­put­er. It’s ridicu­lous to ask peo­ple to wait a cou­ple of min­utes to start up their com­put­er, explained one tech exec­u­tive. The first hand up in the class­room, the hyper busi­ness-man or woman who can’t sit still, much less lis­ten  these are icons of suc­cess in Amer­i­can soci­ety. Still, many of us are begin­ning to ques­tion our ado­ra­tion of instant grat­i­fi­ca­tion and hyper-mobil­i­ty.

Sec­ond, we need to set the stage for focus indi­vid­u­al­ly and col­lec­tive­ly by rewrit­ing our cli­mate of dis­trac­tion and inat­ten­tion. To help, some com­pa­nies and busi­ness lead­ers are exper­i­ment­ing with white space the cre­ation of phys­i­cal spaces or times on the cal­en­dar for unin­ter­rupt­ed, unwired think­ing and Read the rest of this entry »

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