Cognitive Training: Does It Work?

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An average human lifespan has grown drastically over the last few centuries, mainly due to improved living conditions, medicine, and technology. Losing memory, attention span, and cognitive function is a natural factor in human aging, which can only worsen with the overwhelming stress of the modern lifestyle (Kalat, 2015). Therefore, sharpening one’s mind and keeping it active became an issue for many modern people. In their article titled “The Brain-Games Conundrum: Does Cognitive Training Really Sharpen the Mind?”, Boot and Kramer talk about the contemporary trend of popularizing cognitive training and whether its popularity is warranted. It raises the important question of whether it is possible to sharpen one’s mind, abilities, and cognitive function through training or not.

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The cognitive building tools promise the audience that performing these exercises will build their overall abilities, which is the general perception. Boot and Kramer highlight the primary issue: games, books, and videos focus on tasks often disconnected from other skills and focus on a small portion of cognitive function. The authors ask if performing unrelated exercises builds other cognitive skills.

Does counting, remembering names, or connecting images improves one’s ability to perform other skills and activities? Ultimately, they come to a negative conclusion on these questions (Boot and Kramer, 2014). Yet, they also highlight that it is not impossible to do so but instead simply limited. Cognitive training may improve other skills if they are similar or if the task improves a fundamental skill that functions as a foundation for an array of other skills.

The authors mention three primary methods of improving cognition: brain-training programs, working memory training, and, more recently, video-game training (Boot and Kramer, 2014). Each type enhances a portion of cognitive function, but they rarely overlap. The studies done to test the transfer volume through traditional cognitive training demonstrate underwhelming results. While the tested people show improvement in the affected areas, the results either rarely stayed or were inconsequential (Boot and Kramer, 2014). The effect on people’s daily activities, skills, and life did not match the popular beliefs either.

While some people retained the improvements up to ten years after the initial tests, many returned to a pre-improvement state shortly after. The authors mention a new popular form of cognitive training: video-game training. They talk about the recent studies that show its ability to affect a greater number of skills (Boot and Kramer, 2014). Understandably, the new findings gather a lot of excitement. Nevertheless, the article mentions that while this discovery is groundbreaking in many ways, the methodology has raised a fair amount of criticism. Therefore, it is simply too early to draw conclusions until more research is done.

The research on the subject has debunked misconceptions about how much the popularized cognitive training methods affect one’s brain. Despite the popular public beliefs about mind-strengthening exercises having a dramatic effect on one’s life and skills, the improvements can be moderate to insignificant. Nevertheless, it also demonstrates that no matter how small, the impact on cognitive function and other skills is indisputable. Thus, it is clear that well-designed cognitive training can affect various practical cognitive abilities and improve memory. With the new methods emerging and more studies done on the matter, it is clear that cognitive training has an ample chance to show great results in the future.

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References

Boot, W. R., & Kramer, A. F. (2014). The brain-games conundrum: does cognitive training really sharpen the mind? Cerebrum: the Dana forum on brain science, 2014(15). Web.

Kalat, J. W. (2015). Biological psychology. Cengage Learning.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, September 8). Cognitive Training: Does It Work? Retrieved from https://psychologywriting.com/cognitive-training-does-it-work/

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, September 8). Cognitive Training: Does It Work? https://psychologywriting.com/cognitive-training-does-it-work/

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"Cognitive Training: Does It Work?" PsychologyWriting, 8 Sept. 2022, psychologywriting.com/cognitive-training-does-it-work/.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Cognitive Training: Does It Work'. 8 September.

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PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Cognitive Training: Does It Work?" September 8, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/cognitive-training-does-it-work/.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Cognitive Training: Does It Work?" September 8, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/cognitive-training-does-it-work/.


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PsychologyWriting. "Cognitive Training: Does It Work?" September 8, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/cognitive-training-does-it-work/.