Cognitive training is a term used to describe programs that provide guided practice on tasks requiring different cognitive abilities such as memory or language. It is assumed that regular practice will improve or maintain functioning in a particular cognitive domain (e.g., memory) and those results will generalize beyond the context of training. Results have been mixed in the existing literature that has evaluated the potential benefits of cognitive training on cognitive and emotional functioning in cognitively intact older adults. This study investigated the effectiveness of a cognitive training program for older adults with no to very minimal cognitive decline. Nine individuals participated in the Mind Sharpener program developed by the New England Cognitive Center. Two hour-long training sessions were completed each week for 12 weeks. In each session, participants completed paper and pencil activities that targeted the following cognitive domains: attention, language, perceptual speed, executive function, visual spatial skills, verbal memory, and visual memory. Outcomes assessed included measures of cognitive abilities targeted in the training program, depression, and memory self-efficacy. Measures were completed prior to beginning the Mind Sharpener program and after completion of the program. Across participants, ten measures improved following the Mind Sharpener program, six showed stability, and one measure declined. The study provides promising results for the efficacy of cognitive training programs.


Jeffrey Buchanan

Committee Member

Eric Sprankle

Committee Member

Donald Ebel

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)




Social and Behavioral Sciences



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In Copyright