Sunday, April 1, 2012

New Research Examines Task-Learning Across Lifetime

A press release sent in by the folks at Lumosity about a poster being presented at CNS today by one of their researchers, Kacey Ballard...

20,000-Person Lumosity Study Identifies Cognitive Tasks with Most Improvement Potential

Chicago, Illinois – April 1, 2012 – 
With age-related cognitive decline affecting millions of adults world-wide, targeted cognitive training programs offer new potential for treatment. A new analysis of more than 20,000 adults shows that such the effectiveness of such training depends on both the age of the participant and the type of exercises employed .

“There has been much research on how cognitive functioning declines with age, but this study takes it one step further and looks at how task-specific learning differs across the lifespan,” says Kacey Ballard, Ph.D., User Researcher at of Lumosity, who is presenting her research this week in Chicago at the annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS). “These results also offer interesting implications for understanding training-related transfer – tasks that offer more practice-related improvements might be better suited for demonstrating transfer of benefits to a novel task.”

The study investigated baseline performance and practice-related improvements across the lifespan in four distinct cognitive domains: working memory, short-term spatial memory span, arithmetic, and verbal fluency. The study found that baseline performance decreases with age, but the rate of decline differs by task.

Ballard found that intelligence tasks, such as working memory and spatial memory span, show the most improvement in adults in their early-20s. Arithmetic and verbal fluency remained robust through the 30s and 40s, however. Regardless of age or task, people’s performance significantly improved after 25 practice sessions.

The study also found that some tasks can yield more improvement with practice than other tasks. The working memory 2-back task (Memory Match) afforded the most improvement with practice, while the spatial memory span task (Memory Matrix) had the least amount of improvement with practice.

Ballard gathered data from worldwide samples of 20,000 to 110,000 individuals aged 15 to 75. Participants trained on an exercise at least 25 times using free online software available on

These data are part of Lumosity’s database of human cognitive performance, which is the largest in the world, with more than 320 million data points to date. Lumosity’s research and development team continually analyze this data to learn more about cognitive training, brain health and identifying better methods of mental processing ability.

Ballard presents her poster “Rates of Age-Related Cognitive Decline and Training Improvements Depend on Task Modality: Baseline and Training Effects Across the Lifespan in Samples of Over 20,000 Individuals Training in Four Distinct Cognitive Domains” on Sunday, April 1, 2012 from 4:00 – 6:00 pm at the annual CNS meeting at the Palmer House Hotel (Exhibit Hall, Poster D30).


Lumosity is the leading online brain training program that improves core cognitive abilities such as memory, attention and intelligence. Launched in 2007, Lumosity now has more than 35 games, 20 million members, and paying subscribers from 180 countries. Lumosity’s exercises are based on the latest findings in neuroscience, with continuing independent third-party studies being conducted by researchers at Harvard, Stanford, University of California, Berkeley, and other academic institutions. Lumosity is available at and on the iPhone. Lumosity is headquartered in San Francisco, California. For more information, please visit

Lumosity Contact:
Erica Perng

No comments:

Post a Comment