That’s possible, according to a new study.
“This study demonstrates for the first time that participants’ expectations of how cognitive training ‘should’ change their cognitive performance can affect the actual results they show,” said lead study author and postdoctoral research associate Jocelyn Parong.Department of Psychology The Learning and Transfer Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, via email.
“That said, those who expected their cognitive performance to improve did improve more after 20 sessions than those who expected no improvement in their cognitive performance. Whether they received the actual working memory training intervention or the control Training. Intervention. »
Sub-study Two groups of 193 people. According to the study, one group was told that cognitive training helped them perform better, while the other group did not.Then half of each group did Cognitive training while others play simple trivia games.
All participants were trained According to research. But the top performers were trained and told it would help; so, according to the study, they had more positive expectations.
“For over a decade, there has been a scientific debate about whether computerized cognitive training, such as ‘working memory training,’ can be used to generally improve intellectual function (cognition),” said Jason Chein, professor of psychology. and Neuroscience at Temple University, via email. Chein was not involved in the study.
Research indicates that The effectiveness of this training, but some critics argue that the benefits may simply come from the placebo effect.
This study answers this question head-on by comparing the outcomes of those who were trained and those who were trained Who Not as good as those with high expectations and low expectations, he added.
“The most powerful results may have come from combining cognitive training strategies with encouraging participants to understand the possible benefits of investing in training,” Chein said.
What can we learn from working memory research? On the one hand, positivity pays off.
“It doesn’t hurt to have a positive attitude or expectation about cognitive training interventions (or behavioral interventions in general) if you want to maximize your results,” Parong said.
Chein added: “The expectation to be able to change and benefit from your own efforts is a powerful driver of that change in itself.”
It’s no surprise that a good attitude can make a difference. Many studies have confirmed this.
In addition, they performed better than their unhappy peers and received more support from their colleagues.
Some hope that studies like this will lead to more cognitive training tools that can be used to enhance cognition and help us with difficult tasks, Chein said.
The study has a solid methodology, Chein said, but adds that there are still limitations in its scope, such as researchers not knowing the participants’ belief systems or expectations.
“Readers should always be skeptical of overhyped claims about improving memory, concentration, creativity, etc.”, he has announced.
Parong noted that his findings need to be replicated, and he still has questions to answer “about when and how the expected effect occurs.”
In his study, the expectation effect persisted as long as the participants were unaware that the research team’s decisions affected their expectations.