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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. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Brain Training Helps Older Drivers

A study just pub­lished in the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Geri­atric Soci­ety has been much pub­li­cized recent­ly (see for instance, this L.A. Times arti­cle). The study showed that a com­put­er-based brain train­ing pro­gram suc­ceed­ed in reduc­ing at-fault car crash­es for old­er dri­vers. The effects of the train­ing last­ed over 6 years.

This result made the news as one of the rare trans­fers of brain train­ing ben­e­fits to every­day life.  Why was this train­ing suc­cess­ful and not oth­ers? Prob­a­bly because brain train­ing needs to be spe­cif­ic and not gen­er­al. If you prac­tice play­ing base­ball you do not expect to get bet­ter at play­ing bas­ket­ball, right? The same is true of brain func­tions: If you train your lan­guage skills, do not expect to get bet­ter at mem­o­riz­ing num­bers. Read the rest of this entry »

Allstate: Can we improve Driver Safety using Posit Science InSight?

Insur­ance com­pa­ny All­state and brain fit­ness soft­ware devel­op­er Posit Sci­ence just announced (see press release Pro­tect­ing Penn­syl­va­nia Dri­vers, One Brain at a Time) a very intel­li­gent ini­tia­tive:

Video exer­cis­es aid dri­ving skills (Chica­go Tri­bune)

-“All­state, which called the Posit pro­gram “poten­tial­ly the next big break­through in auto­mo­bile safe­ty,” said it expects its soft­ware exer­cis­es to reduce risky dri­ving maneu­vers by up to 40 per­cent and improve stop­ping dis­tance by an aver­age of 22 feet when trav­el­ing at 55 miles per hour.”

-“We’ll look to see whether over the next six to nine months there will be a reduc­tion in” the num­ber of acci­dents between the group par­tic­i­pat­ing in the video exer­cis­es and those sit­ting out, said Tom War­den, assis­tant vice pres­i­dent of All­state’s research and plan­ning cen­ter.

Tom Warden Allstate

I am for­tu­nate to inter­view Tom War­den, Assis­tant Vice Pres­i­dent and Leader of Allstate’s Research and Plan­ning Cen­ter, based in Men­lo Park, Cal­i­for­nia.

Alvaro Fer­nan­dez: Tom, thank you for your time. Can you please explain the con­text behind this new ini­tia­tive that you just announced?

Tom War­den: Our research cen­ter is con­stant­ly look­ing for new ideas to improve the dri­ving behav­ior of dri­vers of all ages. Recent­ly we have paid extra empha­sis on ways to improve the safe­ty of old­er dri­vers.

Let me pro­vide some back­ground here. All­state, as a com­pa­ny, has always been one of the pio­neers in help­ing to intro­duce new safe­ty mea­sures. For exam­ple, we were among the pio­neers in the 60s to advo­cate for manda­to­ry use of seat­ing belts, giv­en research stud­ies on the ben­e­fits for dri­vers and pas­sen­gers alike. More recent­ly, we helped lob­by for wider adop­tion of airbags, an effec­tive but expen­sive way of pro­tec­tion that only became main­stream when man­u­fac­tur­ers were required to include them.

Let’s talk now about your agree­ment with Posit Sci­ence. What will hap­pen over the next months?

The first thing we are doing is to con­duct a research study to ana­lyze the real-life impact of Posit Sci­ence InSight, a com­put­er-based cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­gram, on acci­dent rates. We know that as dri­vers get old­er Read the rest of this entry »

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.

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