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CANTARELLA, Alessandra (2015) Working Memory training in aging: from the nature of the training to the transfer effects in everyday life. [Ph.D. thesis]

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Abstract (english)

A growing body of studies shows that working memory (WM) in older adults can be improved by means of specific process-based training, while the results in terms of transfer effects are more controversial. The benefits of WM training on other, untrained abilities, are generally examined using single indicators for each ability assessed, and benefits on everyday tasks have rarely been considered. One of the aspects that might favor transfer effects is the type of stimuli used in the training. Thanks to the “positivity effect” in aging, it may be possible to enhance the benefits of training and transfer effects by using emotional stimuli. This possibility has yet to be researched.
Three studies were conducted to address the above mentioned issues. The aim of the first was to assess the efficacy of a verbal WM training and its far transfer effects on everyday life abilities; performance-based measures of functional abilities were used. In the second and third studies, involving a visuo-spatial WM training, the characteristics of the training stimuli were manipulated using first neutral and then positive emotional stimuli (in studies 2 and 3, respectively).
The results of the first study showed transfer effects of the verbal WM training on everyday abilities, whereas the visuo-spatial WM training in studies 2 and 3only induced specific effects on criterion tasks.
Overall, WM training in aging has promise as away to improve abilities related to everyday living. Attention has to be devolved to the type of stimuli and the task modality (verbal rather than visuo-spatial).

Abstract (italian)

Un crescente numero di studi mostra che è possibile migliorare le prestazioni di Memoria di Lavoro (MdL) degli anziani attraverso training “process-based”. Più controverse sono le evidenze rispetto alla generalizzazione dei benefici ottenuti: i benefici dei training di MdL ad abilità non direttamente allenate sono infatti solitamene valutati i) utilizzando singole prove per ogni abilità esaminata; raramente attraverso prove di funzionalità quotidiana. Tra gli aspetti che potrebbero favorire gli effetti di trasferimento dei benefici vi è la tipologia di stimoli utilizzata nei training: rispetto a ciò, l’utilizzo di stimoli emotivi a valenza positiva potrebbe essere efficace, sfruttando il noto “effetto positività” nell’invecchiamento, aspetto non ancora indagato.
Per indagare gli aspetti menzionati sono stati condotti tre studi. Lo scopo del primo era di valutare l’efficacia di un training di MdL verbale e gli effetti di trasferimento ad abilità quotidiane. Allo scopo sono state utilizzate misure oggettive di valutazione funzionale. Nel secondo e terzo studio, utilizzando un training di MdL visuo-spaziale, sono state manipolate le caratteristiche degli stimoli, usando stimoli a valenza neutra o positiva (rispettivamente nello studio 2 e 3).
I risultati del primo studio mostrano effetti di trasferimento alle competenze quotidiane mentre l’utilizzo di un training visuo-spaziale solo un effetto specifico alla prova criterio.
I training di MdL rappresentano quindi un approccio promettente per il miglioramento di abilità legate alla vita quotidiana. Attenzione deve essere devoluta al tipo di stimoli utilizzato e alla modalità di training (verbale o visuo-spaziale).

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EPrint type:Ph.D. thesis
Tutor:DE BENI, Rossana
Ph.D. course:Ciclo 27 > scuole 27 > SCIENZE PSICOLOGICHE
Data di deposito della tesi:31 January 2015
Anno di Pubblicazione:31 January 2015
Key Words:working memory training; cognitive aging; cognitive interventions; everyday abilities; transfer effects training di memoria di lavoro; invecchiamento cognitivo; interventi cognitivi; abilità quotidiane; effetti di trasferimento
Settori scientifico-disciplinari MIUR:Area 11 - Scienze storiche, filosofiche, pedagogiche e psicologiche > M-PSI/01 Psicologia generale
Struttura di riferimento:Dipartimenti > Dipartimento di Psicologia Generale
Codice ID:7855
Depositato il:12 Nov 2015 09:33
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