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Multi-domain training enhances attentional control

Binder JC, Martin M, Zöllig J, Röcke C, Mérillat S, Eschen A, Jäncke L & Shing YL (2016) Multi-domain training enhances attentional control , Psychology and Aging, 31 (4), pp. 390-408.

Multi-domain cognitive training potentially increases the likelihood for an overlap in processing component 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 65 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 six-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 to the single-domain training groups, showed more improvement on the far transfer, executive 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 six-month follow-up, performance on the cognitive test battery remained stable. This is one of the first studies that systematically investigated multi-domain training including comparable single-domain training conditions. Our findings suggest that multi-domain training enhances executive attentional control involved in handling several different tasks at the same time, an aspect in everyday life that is particularly challenging for older people.

cognitive training; multi-domain training; healthy old age; iPad; transfer

AuthorsBinder Julia C, Martin Mike, Zöllig Jacqueline, Röcke Christina, Mérillat Susan, Eschen Anne, Jäncke Lutz, Shing Yee Lee
Publication date06/2016
Date accepted by journal01/04/2016
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association
ISSN 0882-7974

Psychology and Aging: Volume 31, Issue 4

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