Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Research byte: Multi-domain training may improve attentional control (AC) in older adults

Multi-domain training enhances attentional control.
Psychology and Aging, Vol 31(4), Jun 2016, 390-408. http://dx.doi.org.ezp1.lib.umn.edu/10.1037/pag0000081


Multi-domain training potentially increases the likelihood of overlap in processing components with transfer tasks and everyday life, and hence is a promising training approach for older adults. To empirically test this, 84 healthy older adults aged 64 to 75 years were randomly assigned to one of three single-domain training conditions (inhibition, visuomotor function, spatial navigation) or to the simultaneous training of all three cognitive functions (multi-domain training condition). All participants trained on an iPad at home for 50 training sessions. Before and after the training, and at a 6-month follow-up measurement, cognitive functioning and training transfer were assessed with a neuropsychological test battery including tests targeting the trained functions (near transfer) and transfer to executive functions (far transfer: attentional control, working memory, speed). Participants in all four training groups showed a linear increase in training performance over the 50 training sessions. Using a latent difference score model, the multi-domain training group, compared with the single-domain training groups, showed more improvement on the far transfer attentional control composite. Individuals with initially lower baseline performance showed higher training-related improvements, indicating that training compensated for lower initial cognitive performance. At the 6-month follow-up, performance on the cognitive test battery remained stable. This is one of the first studies to investigate systematically multi-domain training including comparable single-domain training conditions. Our findings suggest that multi-domain training enhances attentional control involved in handling several different tasks at the same time, an aspect in everyday life that is particularly challenging for older people. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

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