Event: Undergraduate Research Symposium
Date: May 18, 2019
Location: UCI Student Center
Presenters: Angelina Quagletti, Jamisyn Atlas
Mentors: Susanne Jaeggi, Austin Moon
Title: The Impact of Self-Efficacy Intervention on Older Adult Working Memory Training
The recent explosion in awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia has led the baby boomer generation to demand not only more effective diagnostics, but also preventative measures to preserve one’s cognitive functions. Cognitive training has been shown to improve working memory measured by N-back performance. Research has also shown that extended retest practice and ability training significantly improve test performance, but only ability training creates a positive change in self-efficacy. With that research in mind, this study aims to evaluate the impact of improving self-efficacy in older adults in conjunction with N-back training. Sixty-three cognitively healthy older adults were split into two groups and trained with a visuospatial N-back task, called MatchQuest, every day for 20 days. One group participated in three workshops over the course of their training, aimed towards improving their memory self-efficacy and cognitive health, while the other group only completed training. Both groups were administered a test battery assessing cognitive measures before and after training. Though we do not see a difference in training performance, the self-efficacy intervention group shows inclination towards near and far transfer. These and other effects may take longer to manifest, which will be evaluated in follow-up tests. We expect the group who participated in the workshops to have a stronger positive transfer to long-term memory, metacognition, and visual working memory tasks than the control group.