Neurocognitive Effects of Gist Reasoning Training in Student-Athletes with Concussions, ADHD, and Learning Disabilities
Description: Concussions, attention-deficit disorder (ADHD), and learning disabilities can adversely impact learning and academic achievement, particularly with respect to attention, memory, and executive functioning; fortunately, cognitive training can be beneficial and remediating these weaknesses. One such program, strategic memory advanced reasoning training (SMART), utilizes a top-down approach to train individuals in executive, higher-ordered thinking strategies including strategic attention, integration, and innovation to facilitate information synthesis and enhance cognitive efficiency. Thus, the purpose of the study is to examine whether SMART improved performances on various neuropsychological measures tapping into attention, processing speed, memory, and executive functioning for college student-athletes with neurological conditions (e.g., concussions, ADHD, LD). Student-athletes were randomly assigned to the SMART program or a "wait-list" control group and were administered a neuropsychological battery at baseline, immediately following the intervention, and after a four-month delay. Results showed that participants benefited from SMART with respect to working memory immediately following the intervention after controlling for baseline scores. The benefits of working memory also persisted after four months. Additionally, SMART was beneficial for improving attention, but only after four months after the intervention. The findings of the current study were consistent with previous studies which showed positive effects of SMART on working memory with a variety of populations (e.g., children, adolescents, older adults, Veterans, brain-injured patients); however, the current study did not see improved performance on other aspects of executive functioning which contradict prior research. Statistical differences between the present study and prior research regarding SMART may be explained in methodology, participant characteristics, research setting, and/or limitations. Future studies may include combining cognitive training as the intervention and utilizing neuroimaging alongside cognitive training to examine the relationship between structural/functional change with neuropsychological performance.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Nguyen, Thomas