Limits...
Training cognitive control in older adults with the space fortress game: the role of training instructions and basic motor ability.

Blumen HM, Gopher D, Steinerman JR, Stern Y - Front Aging Neurosci (2010)

Bottom Line: Older adults showed improved performance on the SF task over time, but did not perform at the same level as younger adults.Unlike studies of younger adults, overall SF performance in older adults was greater following standard instructions than following EC instructions.However, this advantage was primarily due to collecting more bonus points and not - the primary goal of the game - shooting and destroying the fortress, which in contrast benefited from EC instructions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Cognitive Neuroscience Division, Taub Institute, Columbia University New York, NY, USA.

ABSTRACT
This study examined if and how cognitively healthy older adults can learn to play a complex computer-based action game called the Space Fortress (SF) as a function of training instructions [Standard vs. Emphasis Change (EC); e.g., Gopher et al., 1989] and basic motor ability. A total of 35 cognitively healthy older adults completed a 3-month SF training program with three SF sessions weekly. Twelve 3-min games were played during each session. Basic motor ability was assessed with an aiming task, which required rapidly rotating a spaceship to shoot targets. Older adults showed improved performance on the SF task over time, but did not perform at the same level as younger adults. Unlike studies of younger adults, overall SF performance in older adults was greater following standard instructions than following EC instructions. However, this advantage was primarily due to collecting more bonus points and not - the primary goal of the game - shooting and destroying the fortress, which in contrast benefited from EC instructions. Basic motor ability was low and influenced many different aspects of SF game learning, often interacted with learning rate, and influenced overall SF performance. These findings show that older adults can be trained to deal with the complexity of the SF task but that overall SF performance, and the ability to capitalize on EC instructions, differs when a basic ability such as motor control is low. Hence, the development of this training program as a cognitive intervention that can potentially compensate for age-related cognitive decline should consider that basic motor ability can interact with the efficiency of training instructions that promote the use of cognitive control (e.g., EC instructions) - and the confluence between such basic abilities and higher-level cognitive control abilities should be further examined.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

(A) Velocity as a function of training instructions (EC vs. Standard) in participants with low (<450) subject-specific aiming scores. (B) Velocity as a function of training instructions (EC vs. Standard) in participants with high (>450) subject-specific aiming scores.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2991174&req=5

Figure 3: (A) Velocity as a function of training instructions (EC vs. Standard) in participants with low (<450) subject-specific aiming scores. (B) Velocity as a function of training instructions (EC vs. Standard) in participants with high (>450) subject-specific aiming scores.

Mentions: Follow-up univariate models suggest that the Control and the Speed measure were influenced by subject-specific Aiming scores, F(1, 31) = 37.23, p < 0.001, and F(1, 31) = 31.73, p < 0.001, respectively. In the Speed measure, there was also an interaction between Week and Aiming, F(11, 341) = 2.36, p < 0.05, such that aiming had more of an effect during the later weeks of training. An interaction between Week and Aiming was also observed in the Points measure, F(11, 341) = 7.32, p < 0.001, such that Aiming had more of an effect during the early weeks of training than during the later weeks of training. Note that this is the opposite pattern to the interactions between Week and Aiming that were observed in Speed and Total Score, where aiming had more of an effect during the later weeks of training. In the Velocity measure, there was a three-way interaction between Week, Condition, and Aiming, F(11, 341) = 3.62, p < 0.05, It is difficult to visualize a three-way interaction between two continuous variables. For illustrative purposes, we therefore visualized the nature of this three-way interaction by dichotomizing Aiming in terms of high (>450) and low (<450) aiming scores and graphing velocity for high and low aimers in the EC and AC condition separately (see Figures 3A,B). As is evident from these graphs, velocity in participants with low aiming scores were greater among participants assigned to the AC condition during the early weeks of training, but similar or worse than among participants assigned to the EC condition during the later weeks of training. Velocity in participants with high aiming scores did not differ as a function of training instructions. These main sub-measures analyses suggest that flying the space ship within the hexagon (Control) is influenced by the subject-specific aiming scores of older adults. The speed or efficiency to detect and destroy mines (Speed) is also influenced by subject-specific aiming scores, particularly during the later weeks of training. The numbers of Points collected from the different task requirements, on the other hand, are influenced by subject-specific aiming scores during the early weeks of training but less so during later the later weeks of training. In order to examine why this is the case, we analyzed each measures that contributes to the Points measure in the upcoming section. Finally, flying the ship slowly within the SF game environment (Velocity), which is related to ship handling and has been shown to be a good learning strategy among younger adults (Frederiksen and White, 1989), improved more in the EC condition for individuals with low subject-specific aiming scores – but not for those with high subject-specific aiming scores. This pattern is consistent with what is observed in younger adults with high basic motor control – whose velocity typically improve more when trained with EC instructions compared to when trained with standard game play instructions (e.g., Gopher et al., 1989). Taken together, these main sub-measure analyses of SF game learning in older adults suggest that training instructions and basic motor control abilities influence the strategies that older adults use when they learn to play the SF game.


Training cognitive control in older adults with the space fortress game: the role of training instructions and basic motor ability.

Blumen HM, Gopher D, Steinerman JR, Stern Y - Front Aging Neurosci (2010)

(A) Velocity as a function of training instructions (EC vs. Standard) in participants with low (<450) subject-specific aiming scores. (B) Velocity as a function of training instructions (EC vs. Standard) in participants with high (>450) subject-specific aiming scores.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2991174&req=5

Figure 3: (A) Velocity as a function of training instructions (EC vs. Standard) in participants with low (<450) subject-specific aiming scores. (B) Velocity as a function of training instructions (EC vs. Standard) in participants with high (>450) subject-specific aiming scores.
Mentions: Follow-up univariate models suggest that the Control and the Speed measure were influenced by subject-specific Aiming scores, F(1, 31) = 37.23, p < 0.001, and F(1, 31) = 31.73, p < 0.001, respectively. In the Speed measure, there was also an interaction between Week and Aiming, F(11, 341) = 2.36, p < 0.05, such that aiming had more of an effect during the later weeks of training. An interaction between Week and Aiming was also observed in the Points measure, F(11, 341) = 7.32, p < 0.001, such that Aiming had more of an effect during the early weeks of training than during the later weeks of training. Note that this is the opposite pattern to the interactions between Week and Aiming that were observed in Speed and Total Score, where aiming had more of an effect during the later weeks of training. In the Velocity measure, there was a three-way interaction between Week, Condition, and Aiming, F(11, 341) = 3.62, p < 0.05, It is difficult to visualize a three-way interaction between two continuous variables. For illustrative purposes, we therefore visualized the nature of this three-way interaction by dichotomizing Aiming in terms of high (>450) and low (<450) aiming scores and graphing velocity for high and low aimers in the EC and AC condition separately (see Figures 3A,B). As is evident from these graphs, velocity in participants with low aiming scores were greater among participants assigned to the AC condition during the early weeks of training, but similar or worse than among participants assigned to the EC condition during the later weeks of training. Velocity in participants with high aiming scores did not differ as a function of training instructions. These main sub-measures analyses suggest that flying the space ship within the hexagon (Control) is influenced by the subject-specific aiming scores of older adults. The speed or efficiency to detect and destroy mines (Speed) is also influenced by subject-specific aiming scores, particularly during the later weeks of training. The numbers of Points collected from the different task requirements, on the other hand, are influenced by subject-specific aiming scores during the early weeks of training but less so during later the later weeks of training. In order to examine why this is the case, we analyzed each measures that contributes to the Points measure in the upcoming section. Finally, flying the ship slowly within the SF game environment (Velocity), which is related to ship handling and has been shown to be a good learning strategy among younger adults (Frederiksen and White, 1989), improved more in the EC condition for individuals with low subject-specific aiming scores – but not for those with high subject-specific aiming scores. This pattern is consistent with what is observed in younger adults with high basic motor control – whose velocity typically improve more when trained with EC instructions compared to when trained with standard game play instructions (e.g., Gopher et al., 1989). Taken together, these main sub-measure analyses of SF game learning in older adults suggest that training instructions and basic motor control abilities influence the strategies that older adults use when they learn to play the SF game.

Bottom Line: Older adults showed improved performance on the SF task over time, but did not perform at the same level as younger adults.Unlike studies of younger adults, overall SF performance in older adults was greater following standard instructions than following EC instructions.However, this advantage was primarily due to collecting more bonus points and not - the primary goal of the game - shooting and destroying the fortress, which in contrast benefited from EC instructions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Cognitive Neuroscience Division, Taub Institute, Columbia University New York, NY, USA.

ABSTRACT
This study examined if and how cognitively healthy older adults can learn to play a complex computer-based action game called the Space Fortress (SF) as a function of training instructions [Standard vs. Emphasis Change (EC); e.g., Gopher et al., 1989] and basic motor ability. A total of 35 cognitively healthy older adults completed a 3-month SF training program with three SF sessions weekly. Twelve 3-min games were played during each session. Basic motor ability was assessed with an aiming task, which required rapidly rotating a spaceship to shoot targets. Older adults showed improved performance on the SF task over time, but did not perform at the same level as younger adults. Unlike studies of younger adults, overall SF performance in older adults was greater following standard instructions than following EC instructions. However, this advantage was primarily due to collecting more bonus points and not - the primary goal of the game - shooting and destroying the fortress, which in contrast benefited from EC instructions. Basic motor ability was low and influenced many different aspects of SF game learning, often interacted with learning rate, and influenced overall SF performance. These findings show that older adults can be trained to deal with the complexity of the SF task but that overall SF performance, and the ability to capitalize on EC instructions, differs when a basic ability such as motor control is low. Hence, the development of this training program as a cognitive intervention that can potentially compensate for age-related cognitive decline should consider that basic motor ability can interact with the efficiency of training instructions that promote the use of cognitive control (e.g., EC instructions) - and the confluence between such basic abilities and higher-level cognitive control abilities should be further examined.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus