Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Translational Neuroscience

Editor-in-Chief: David, Olivier

1 Issue per year

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 0.833
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.247

CiteScore 2017: 1.00

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.428
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.244

Open Access
See all formats and pricing
More options …

Online cognitive training in healthy older adults: a preliminary study on the effects of single versus multi-domain training

Courtney C Walton
  • Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Brain & Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Alexandra Kavanagh
  • Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Luke A. Downey
  • Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Department of Psychology, Swansea University, Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Justine Lomas
  • Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ David A Camfield
  • Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • School of Psychology, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, Australia
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Con Stough
  • Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2014-11-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/tnsci-2015-0003


It has been argued that cognitive training may be effective in improving cognitive performance in healthy older adults. However, inappropriate active control groups often hinder the validity of these claims. Additionally there are relatively few independent empirical studies on popular commercially available cognitive training programs. The current research extends on previous work to explore cognitive training employing a more robust control group. Twenty-eight healthy older adults (age: M = 64.18, SD = 6.9) completed either a multi-faceted online computerised cognitive training program or trained on a simple reaction time task for 20 minutes a day over a 28 day period. Both groups significantly improved performance in multiple measures of processing speed. Only the treatment group displayed improved performance for measures of memory accuracy. These results suggest improvements in processing speed and visual working memory may be obtained over a short period of computerized cognitive training. However, gains over this time appear only to show near transfer. The use of similar active control groups in future research are needed in order to better understand changes in cognition after cognitive training.

Keywords: Cognitive training; Processing speed; Working memory; Healthy older adults; Dementia


  • [1] Salthouse T.A., What and when of cognitive aging, Curr. Dir. Psychol. Sci., 2004, 13, 140-144 CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [2] Hebert L.E., Weuve J., Scherr P.A., Evans D.A., Alzheimer disease in the United States (2010-2050) estimated using the 2010 census, Neurology, 2013, 80, 1778-1783 Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • [3] Mowszowski L., Batchelor J., Naismith S.L., Early intervention for cognitive decline: can cognitive training be used as a selective prevention technique?, Int. Psychogeriatr., 2010, 22, 537-548 CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [4] Naismith S.L., Glozier N., Burke D., Carter P.E., Scott E., Hickie I.B., Early intervention for cognitive decline: is there a role for multiple medical or behavioural interventions?, Early Interv. Psychiatry, 2009, 3, 19-27 Google Scholar

  • [5] Barulli D., Stern Y., Efficiency, capacity, compensation, maintenance, plasticity: emerging concepts in cognitive reserve, Trends Cogn. Sci., 2013, 17, 502-509 Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • [6] Cramer S.C., Sur M., Dobkin B.H., O’Brien C., Sanger T.D., Trojanowski J.Q., et al., Harnessing neuroplasticity for clinical applications, Brain, 2011, 134, 1591-1609 Google Scholar

  • [7] Valenzuela M.J., Breakspear M., Sachdev P., Complex mental activity and the aging brain: molecular, cellular and cortical network mechanisms, Brain Res. Rev., 2007, 56, 198-213 CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [8] Mowszowski L., Hermens D.F., Diamond K., Norrie L.M., Cockayne N., Ward P.B., et al., Cognitive training enhances pre-attentive neurophysiological responses in older adults ‘at risk’ of dementia, J. Alzeimers Dis., 2014, 41, 1095-1108 Google Scholar

  • [9] Engvig A., Fjell A.M., Westlye L.T., Skaane N.V., Dale A.M., Holland D., et al., Effects of cognitive training on gray matter volumes in memory clinic patients with subjective memory impairment, J. Alzheimers Dis., 2014, 41, 779-791 Google Scholar

  • [10] Engvig A., Fjell A.M., Westlye L.T., Moberget T., Sundseth Ø., Larsen V.A., et al., Effects of memory training on cortical thickness in the elderly, Neuroimage, 2010, 52, 1667-1676 CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • [11] Ball K., Berch D.B., Helmers K.F., Jobe J.B., Leveck M.D., Marsiske M., et al., Effects of cognitive training interventions with older adults: a randomized controlled trial, JAMA, 2002, 288, 2271-2281 Google Scholar

  • [12] Willis S.L., Tennstedt S.L., Marsiske M., Ball K., Elias J., Koepke K.M., et al., Long-term effects of cognitive training on everyday functional outcomes in older adults, JAMA, 2006, 296, 2805-2814 Google Scholar

  • [13] Rebok G.W., Ball K., Guey L.T., Jones R.N., Kim H.Y., King J.W., et al., Ten-year effects of the advanced cognitive training for independent and vital elderly cognitive training trial on cognition and everyday functioning in older adults, J. Am. Geriatr. Soc., 2014, 62, 16-24 Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [14] Kueider A.M., Parisi J.M., Gross A.L., Rebok G.W., Computerized cognitive training with older adults: a systematic review, PLoS One, 2012, 7, e40588 Google Scholar

  • [15] Reijnders J., van Heugten C., van Boxtel M., Cognitive interventions in healthy older adults and people with mild cognitive impairment: a systematic review, Ageing Res. Rev., 2013, 12, 263-275 Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • [16] Kelly M.E., Loughrey D., Lawlor B.A., Robertson I.H., Walsh C., Brennan S., The impact of cognitive training and mental stimulation on cognitive and everyday functioning of healthy older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis, Ageing Res. Rev., 2014, 15, 28- 43 Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • [17] Jak A.J., Seelye A.M., Jurick S.M., Crosswords to computers: a critical review of popular approaches to cognitive enhancement, Neuropsychol. Rev., 2013, 23, 13-26 Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [18] Simpson T., Camfield D., Pipingas A., Macpherson H., Stough C., Improved processing speed: online computer-based cognitive training in older adults, Educ. Gerontol., 2012, 38, 445-458 Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [19] Pipingas A., Harris E., Tournier E., King R., Kras M., Stough C.K., Assessing the efficacy of nutraceutical interventions on cognitive functioning in the elderly, Curr. Top. Nutraceut. Res., 2010, 8, 79-87 Google Scholar

  • [20] Walton C.C., Mowszowski L., Lewis S.J.G., Naismith S.L., Stuck in the mud: time for change in the implementation of cognitive training research in ageing?, Front. Aging Neurosci., 2014, 6, 43 Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [21] Boot W.R., Simons D.J., Stothart C., Stutts C., The pervasive problem with placebos in psychology: why active control groups are not sufficient to rule out placebo effects, Perspect. Psychol. Sci., 2013, 8, 445-454 Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [22] Richmond L.L., Morrison A.B., Chein J.M., Olson I.R., Working memory training and transfer in older adults, Psychol. Aging, 2011, 26, 813- 822 CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [23] Borella E., Carretti B., Riboldi F., De Beni R., Working memory training in older adults: evidence of transfer and maintenance effects, Psychol. Aging, 2010, 25, 767-778 CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [24] Buschkuehl M., Jaeggi S.M., Hutchison S., Perrig-Chiello P., Däpp C., Müller M., et al., Impact of working memory training on memory performance in old-old adults, Psychol. Aging, 2008, 23, 743-753 CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [25] Brehmer Y., Westerberg H., Bäckman L., Working-memory training in younger and older adults: training gains, transfer, and maintenance, Front. Hum. Neurosci., 2012, 6, 63 Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [26] Folstein M.F., Folstein S.E., McHugh P.R., “Mini-mental state”. A practical method for grading the cognitive state of patients for the clinician, J. Psychiatr. Res., 1975, 12, 189-198 CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [27] Beck A.T., Steer R.A., Brown G.K., Manual for the Beck Depression Inventory-II, San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation., San Antonio, TX, USA, 1996 Google Scholar

  • [28] Acevedo A., Loewenstein D.A., Nonpharmacological cognitive interventions in aging and dementia, J. Geriatr. Psychiatry Neurol., 2007, 20, 239-249 Google Scholar

  • [29] Kerchner G.A., Racine C.A., Hale S., Wilheim R., Laluz V., Miller B.L., et al., Cognitive processing speed in older adults: relationship with white matter integrity, PloS One, 2012, 7, e50425 Google Scholar

  • [30] Courtney S.M., Petit L., Maisog J.M., Ungerleider L.G., Haxby J.V., An area specialized for spatial working memory in human frontal cortex, Science, 1998, 279, 1347-1351 Google Scholar

  • [31] Driemeyer J., Boyke J., Gaser C., Büchel C., May A., Changes in gray matter induced by learning - revisited, PloS One, 2008, 3, e2669 Google Scholar

  • [32] Naismith S.L., Mowszowski L., Diamond K., Lewis S.J., Improving memory in Parkinson’s disease: a healthy brain ageing cognitive training program, Mov. Disord., 2013, 28, 1097-1103 Google Scholar

  • [33] Rabbitt P., Lowe C., Patterns of cognitive ageing, Psychol. Res., 2000, 63, 308-316 CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [34] Hale S., Rose N.S., Myerson J., Strube M.J., Sommers M., Tye-Murray N., et al., The structure of working memory abilities across the adult life span, Psychol. Aging, 2011, 26, 92-110 CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [35] Jenkins L., Myerson J., Joerding J.A., Hale S., Converging evidence that visuospatial cognition is more age-sensitive than verbal cognition, Psychol. Aging, 2000, 15, 157-175CrossrefGoogle Scholar

About the article

Received: 2014-10-13

Accepted: 2014-10-23

Published Online: 2014-11-14

Citation Information: Translational Neuroscience, Volume 6, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2081-6936, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/tnsci-2015-0003.

Export Citation

©2015 Courtney C Walton et al. . This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Claudia I Martínez-Alcalá, Alejandra Rosales-Lagarde, Esmeralda Hernández-Alonso, Roberto Melchor-Agustin, Erika E Rodriguez-Torres, and Benjamín A Itzá-Ortiz
JMIR Research Protocols, 2018, Volume 7, Number 8, Page e172
Kristina Küper, Patrick D. Gajewski, Claudia Frieg, and Michael Falkenstein
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2017, Volume 11
Bing Li, Xinyi Zhu, Jianhua Hou, Tingji Chen, Pengyun Wang, and Juan Li
Frontiers in Psychology, 2016, Volume 7

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in