Objectives: Normal aging involves progressive prefrontal declines and impairments in executive control. This study aimed to examine the efficacy of an executive-control training focusing on working memory and inhibition, in healthy older adults, and to explore the role of individual differences in baseline capacities and motivation in explaining training gains. Methods: Forty-four healthy older adults were randomly assigned to an experimental (training executive control) or active control group (training processing speed). Participants completed six online training sessions distributed across two weeks. Transfer effects to working memory (Operation Span test), response inhibition (Stop-Signal test), processing speed (Pattern Comparison) and reasoning (Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices and Cattell Culture Fair test) were evaluated. Furthermore, we explored individual differences in baseline capacities and assessed motivation during and after the intervention. Results: The experimental group, but not the active control, showed significant transfer to response inhibition. Moreover, a general compensation effect was found: older adults with lower baseline capacities achieved higher levels of training improvement. Motivation was not related to training performance. Conclusion: Our results encourage the use of executive control training to improve cognitive functions, reveal the importance of individual differences in training-related gains, and provide further support for cognitive plasticity during healthy aging.

Baseline capacities and motivation in executive control training of healthy older adults

Borella, Erika;
2022

Abstract

Objectives: Normal aging involves progressive prefrontal declines and impairments in executive control. This study aimed to examine the efficacy of an executive-control training focusing on working memory and inhibition, in healthy older adults, and to explore the role of individual differences in baseline capacities and motivation in explaining training gains. Methods: Forty-four healthy older adults were randomly assigned to an experimental (training executive control) or active control group (training processing speed). Participants completed six online training sessions distributed across two weeks. Transfer effects to working memory (Operation Span test), response inhibition (Stop-Signal test), processing speed (Pattern Comparison) and reasoning (Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices and Cattell Culture Fair test) were evaluated. Furthermore, we explored individual differences in baseline capacities and assessed motivation during and after the intervention. Results: The experimental group, but not the active control, showed significant transfer to response inhibition. Moreover, a general compensation effect was found: older adults with lower baseline capacities achieved higher levels of training improvement. Motivation was not related to training performance. Conclusion: Our results encourage the use of executive control training to improve cognitive functions, reveal the importance of individual differences in training-related gains, and provide further support for cognitive plasticity during healthy aging.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3385552
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