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Working Memory Training for Older Participants: A Control Group Training Regimen and Initial Intellectual Functioning Assessment

Olga Matysiak1, Wanda Zarzycka1, Aleksandra Bramorska1, Aneta Brzezicka1,2

Abstract

The efficacy of cognitive training interventions is recently highly debated. There is no consensus on what kind of training regimen is the most effective. Also, individual characteristics as predictors of training outcome are still being investigated. In this article, we show the attempt to address this issue by examining not only the impact of working memory (WM) training on cognitive effectiveness in older adults but also the influence of the initial WM capacity (WMC) on the training's outcome. We describe in detail how to perform 5 weeks of an adaptive dual n-back training with an active control group (memory quiz). We are focusing here on technical aspects of the training as well as on the initial assessment of participants' WMC. The evaluation of pre and post training performance of other cognitive dimensions was based on the results of tests of memory updating, inhibition, attention shifting, short-term memory (STM) and reasoning. We have found that the initial level of WMC predicts the efficiency of the n-back training intervention. We have also noticed the post training improvement in almost all aspects of cognitive functioning we measured, but those effects were mostly intervention independent.

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