Publications & Resources

Cognitive Priming and Cognitive Training: Immediate and Far Transfer to Academic Skills in Children

Sep 2016

Bruce E. Wexler, Markus Iseli, Seth Leon, William Zaggle, Cynthia Rush, Annette Goodman, A. Esat Imal, and Emily Bo

Cognitive operations are supported by dynamically reconfiguring neural systems that integrate processing components widely distributed throughout the brain. The inter-neuronal connections that constitute these systems are powerfully shaped by environmental input. We evaluated the ability of computer-presented brain training games done in school to harness this neuroplastic potential and improve learning in an overall study sample of 583 second-grade children. Doing a 5-minute brain-training game immediately before math or reading curricular content games increased performance on the curricular content games. Doing three 20-minute brain training sessions per week for four months increased gains on school-administered math and reading achievement tests compared to control classes tested at the same times without intervening brain training. These results provide evidence of cognitive priming with immediate effects on learning, and longer-term brain training with far-transfer or generalized effects on academic achievement.

Wexler, B. E., Iseli, M., Leon, S., Zaggle, W., Rush, C., Goodman, A., … Bo, E. (2016). Cognitive priming and cognitive training: Immediate and far transfer to academic skills in children. Scientific Reports, 6, 32859. doi: 10.1038/srep32859