McKINNEY, Texas – The results of a randomized controlled trial (RCT), published recently in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, support the efficacy of the ThinkRx® one-on-one cognitive training program in improving cognitive skills and IQ scores in students ages 8 to 14 years. The study showed statistically significant generalized improvements in six cognitive skills—associative memory, working memory, long-term memory, visual processing, auditory processing, logic and reasoning, and processing speed—as well as a 21-point mean increase in overall General Intelligence Ability (GIA) testing scores, an established measure of IQ.
This is the first RCT to evaluate the efficacy of a comprehensive, one-on-one cognitive training program targeting multiple cognitive abilities, offering an important contribution to the knowledge base on cognitive training effects in children. It was led by Dick M. Carpenter II, PhD, University of Colorado Colorado Springs; Christina Ledbetter, PhD, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center; and Amy Lawson Moore, PhD, Gibson Institute of Cognitive Research. Their findings also support the use of the Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) theory of intelligence in the design of cognitive training programs to ensure multiple cognitive skills are targeted by training exercises.
The study evaluated the effects of ThinkRx, a program that targets seven core cognitive skills based on the CHC theory of intelligence, through 60 hours of one-on-one cognitive training. The statistically significant increases in GIA score and other cognitive abilities, with the exception of attention, after ThinkRx training support 20 years of observational research and pre- and post-test scores for nearly 19,000 participants demonstrating the efficacy of the LearningRx approach to brain training. ThinkRx is one of the key, comprehensive brain training programs pioneered by LearningRx.
“While most brain training research looks at improvements in working memory, this randomized controlled trial builds on existing literature that documents how brain training can improve individual cognitive skills and helps validate how comprehensive brain training for multiple core cognitive skills measurably improves cognitive performance,” said Dr. Moore. “The findings have profound implications for brain training and its benefits.”
In this trial, 39 students aged 8 to 14 years were randomly assigned to either a control group or an experimental group that underwent one-on-one training with ThinkRx. Pre- and post-testing assessed individual cognitive skills and GIA, a standardized measure of IQ based on composite scores derived from the Woodcock Johnson III – Tests of Cognitive Abilities, to determine improvements. Analysis of pretesting and post-testing scores showed participants in the treatment group consistently achieved a greater and statistically significant difference as compared to the control group on all measures, with the greatest gap between groups demonstrated on logic and reasoning (28.31 point difference) and GIA (26.11 point difference), with the exception of attention as measured by the NIH Cognition Toolbox. Treatment students typically experienced growth two to three times greater than those in the control group, with the greatest growth in the treatment group demonstrated in test scores for long-term memory (27 points), associative memory (23 points), and logic and reasoning (20 points). The results are part of a larger, year-long study which will collect follow-up cognitive testing and academic achievement data to evaluate the longer-term effects of brain training. The full results are available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1099-0720.
This study adds to recent findings presented by co-author Dr. Ledbetter, which found functional brain changes on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans of the brain after students completed brain training with LearningRx. “I’m excited about what the changes in GIA score and other cognitive skills could mean in terms of brain connectivity, network efficiency, and overall cognitive processing,” said Dr. Ledbetter. Dr. Ledbetter’s fMRI findings were recently published in LearningRx's 48-page 2016 edition of “Client Outcomes and Research Results Report", and will be presented along with the most recent RCT data at the upcoming Neuroscience 2016 conference in November, hosted annually by the Society for Neuroscience.