Does cognitive training work? (For Whom? For What?)
Posted Feb 25 2009 12:00am
The growing field of cognitive training (one of the tools for brain fitness) can appear very confusing as the media keeps reporting contradictory claims. These claims are often based on press releases, without a deeper evaluation of the scientific evidence.
Let’s take a couple of recent examples, in successive days:
So, does structured brain exercise / cognitive training work or not?
The problem may in fact reside in asking this very question in the first place, as Alvaro pointed out a while ago in his article .
We need a more nuanced set of questions.
1. Cognition is made of several different abilities (working memory, attention, executive functions such as decision-making, etc)
2. Available training programs do not all train the same abilities
3. Users of training programs do not all have the same needs or goals
4. We need to differentiate between enhancing cognitive functions and delaying the onset of cognitive deficits such as Alzheimer’s.