Recently, a man was asking me about the computer brain training programs for Attention Deficit Disorder. A relative wanted to enroll a young member of his family in a program to help him improve his negative symptoms of ADD. The program was incredibly expensive; thousands of dollars would be needed to participate. This concerned man asked my opinion, and I told him to save his money. Recent research indicates that I gave him the correct answer.
Many of the computer brain training programs purport to increase working memory. Working memory helps to maintain and control information in short-term memory. It facilitates the management of cognitive tasks. Intentional behavior is thought to be controlled by the working memory. The ability to manipulate data and maintain attention are both commanded by the working memory. Short-term memory is a limited amount of information that is stored for a brief period of time in the memory. Working memory has more to do with cognition, than does short-term memory. Cognition, as defined by the American Psychological Society, includes " Processes of knowing, including attending, remembering, and reasoning; also the content of the processes, such as concepts and memories."
A recent study from the University of Central Florida researcher Dr. Mark D. Rapport that is featured in the December issue of Clinical Psychology Review, studied the effects of brain training on children with Attention Deficit Disorder. Data from 25 studies were subjected to analysis by the research team. They used studies from both independent researchers and the companies who developed the brain training programs. After analysis, the researchers concluded that there was not lasting benefit from the computer brain training programs. In fact, the programs seemed to train the short-term, rather than the working memory.
There are treatments for Attention Deficit Disorder that do not involve medication. If you want to explore some of them, you might want to delve into the well-researched book, Commanding Attention, by Tess Messer. This book is filled with ideas for treating ADD. As far as computer brain training is concerned, save your money.
Mark D. Rapport, Sarah A. Orban, Michael J. Kofler, Lauren M. Friedman. Do programs designed to train working memory, other executive functions, and attention benefit children with ADHD? A meta-analytic review of cognitive, academic, and behavioral outcomes. Clinical Psychology Review, 2013; 33 (8): 1237 DOI: 10.1016/j.cpr.2013.08.005
University of Central Florida. "ADHD study: Expensive training programs don't help grades, behavior." ScienceDaily, 25 Nov. 2013. Web. 28 Nov. 2013.
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