Brief strategy training enhances targeted memory and beliefs and promotes near transfer
Carla Strickland-Hughes: 0000-0001-8446-8708
Cognitive Aging Conference
May 3-6, 2018
Date of Presentation
A traditional and common approach to cognitive interventions for adults is memory strategy training, but limited work of this type has examined whether self-regulatory factors (e.g., self-evaluative beliefs) might benefit from these programs or moderate other training-related gains. Further, while interventions focused on intensive practice or core capacity training have demonstrated near transfer (performance improvement following training on untrained tasks related to the target task), evidence of near transfer from strategy training programs is quite rare. The present research, Everyday Memory Clinic–Revised (EMC-R), addressed self-regulation and transfer issues in memory strategy training. EMC-R examined whether (1) a short-term strategy training led to improvement in beliefs and strategy usage, as well as score gains, (2) training designed to emphasize self-regulatory changes was more effective than a content- and duration-matched program focused solely on strategy training, and (3) the training evidenced near transfer. Participants were 122 relatively healthy and well-educated middle-aged and older adults (51-90 years old; M=73.24, SD=8.31 years). They were recruited from the community and randomly assigned to one of three training conditions: a waitlist control group (CT; n=38), a traditional strategy-only training group (SO; n=46), or the target strategy-plus beliefs training group, designed to enhance self-regulatory factors as well as memory (SB; n=38). The training programs constituted two hours of in-person instructor-led training and approximately two to three hours of continued self-study at home. EMC-R used a 2 time (within: pretest, posttest) x 3 training condition (between: CT, SO, SB) mixed-model design. After training, as compared to pretest data and to inactive waitlist control participants, trainees demonstrated improved name recall memory, higher levels of memory self-efficacy, and more effective use of memory strategies. Contrary to expectations, benefits from training were similar for a beliefs-focused strategy training approach, as compared to the training approach without the focus on beliefs. The benefits from both training approaches extended beyond the name recall task targeted in training to performance on similar, but untrained, associative memory tasks. Results underscore the value of brief memory training that improves self-efficacy for middle-0aged and older individuals—even with only five hours of training over a single week, performance was enhanced on the trained memory task but also on untrained memory performance. From a practical standpoint, a brief but effective training regimen can be easily disseminated through existing programming, and the low cost of a single-session program may incentivize initial participation and full completion of the training.
Strickland-Hughes, C. M.,
West, R. L.
Brief strategy training enhances targeted memory and beliefs and promotes near transfer.
Paper presented at Cognitive Aging Conference in Atlanta, GA.