Cognitive Training

Investigating cognitive skills improvements in older adults using technology and text based aids.

This study attempts to investigate cognitive skills improvements experienced by older adults using technology and text based aids – comparing brain training games on a console or similar games in a book.

Considerable research has been conducted into the general areas of both gerontology and cognitive skills training, with particular focus on how increased intellectual activity has been linked with a reduced risk of Alzheimers disease. Furthermore research has indicated that staying mentally active can help promote independence as well as the acquiring of new skills and the reacquiring of old ones.
However, few studies are evident which compare the efficiency and effectiveness of technologically based interventions and more traditional, text-based interventions which are generally available, nor has it been determined which method older people derive most satisfaction from.

This research aims to address this gap in the scientific literature, and as such will add significantly to the body of knowledge in this area i.e. what cognitive benefits for older adults derive from brain training and if so which brain training methods work the best.
Participants are pre-screened to assess their suitability for the study.

The study went on for a period of two months during which time participants are provided with a Nintendo DS Lite console and a Brain Training game, “Train Your Brain: 60 Days to a Better Brain” (Kawashima, 2007), or the book version of this game. Both the book and game are provided totally free of charge but are collected at the end of the two month period.
Each participant is asked to complete:
• A numeracy test rating skill levels in arithmetic
• Memory and intelligence tests

The research is being carried out by Kevin Power and supervised by Dr. Grainne Kirwan and Dr. Marion Palmer. Kevin is a graduate of the Psychology Applied to Information Technology degree at IADT.

Kevin Power is being awarded his masters degree in November 2011.