The role of cognitive reserves on the effectiveness of working memory training
Tan, Suan Fong
Date of Issue2016
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
The accumulation of cognitive reserves (CR) and engaging in working memory (WM) training were found to help individuals maintain vitality even in old age. However, little is known about individual differences in the effectiveness of WM training. CR was utilized to account for the individual differences and was assessed through the proxies of: education, working activity and leisure time. Participants were trained in an adaptive n-back training and training effect was found on the trained task for both young and older participants. Transfer effect was also found in identifying similar items on behavioral pattern separation task (BPSO) and digit-symbol substitution among the young participants while transfer effect was on BPSO, Ravens advanced test and on a serial WM task among the older participants. Significant positive relationship was found between working activity and net effect of WM task and between education and improvement in average level of n-back among the older adults. These results suggest that the accumulation of experience on working activity and education has an association with the effectiveness of training. Thus, reconfirming the notion that cognitive decline with aging is not entirely inevitable, but can be managed with active participation in mentally stimulating activities. This encourages future design of working memory training to take into account individual differences to promote maximum effectiveness of training.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University