Study Shows Brain Power Can Be Bolstered--Maybe [News]

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 13:54 in Psychology & Sociology

In the market for more brain power? In what's being touted as "a landmark" result, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (U.M.) researchers report that a specific memory exercise may improve so-called fluid intelligence--the capacity to succeed at new cognitive tasks and in new situations. The finding flies in the face of conventional wisdom in psychology that training for one brain task cannot be transferred to improvement in other mental abilities. If proved, the finding could lead to new therapies and prevention of learning disorders and age-related memory loss.The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, contradicts decades of research showing that attempts at crossover training effects, known as far transfer, do not work well. Previous research has shown that improving on one kind of cognitive task does not improve performance on other kinds--for example, memorizing long strings of numbers does not help people learn strings of letters. [More]

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