Research Topic

The Differential Effects of Cognitive Training and Environmental Enrichment on Cognitive Abilities

About this Research Topic

Today, as we live longer, cognitive impairment and cases of dementia increase globally. Thus, ways of how to maintain or even improve levels of cognitive functioning in old age have been widely investigated in recent years.

Some studies suggest that older adults can improve their cognitive performance following participation in intensive cognitive training programs. In addition, intervention studies, as well as longitudinal data, also suggest that some cognitive benefits can occur from environmental factors such as leisure activities, language learning, social activities, and physical exercise.

Despite the interest in factors that may contribute to improve cognitive functioning in older adults, many studies on humans have reported relatively domain-specific and near transfer effects from cognitive training programs. This means that when transfer effects occur, these are primarily restricted to highly similar situations. In general, far transfer effects to other areas than those practiced have been hard to demonstrate. In the same vein, it must be identified which specific cognitive functions are trained, and which are not, by environmental enrichment in real life (e.g. leisure activity, language learning, physical exercise). More studies are also needed that can generalize the effects of cognitive training into situations in everyday life since this would have practical implications for the aging society.

To conclude, there is a need for a better understanding of the behavioral/cognitive (i.e. cognitive task performance) and brain outcomes that actually are (and are not) influenced by certain cognitive training programs and environmental enrichment factors in old age. Such knowledge may increase our understanding of how to develop more personalized interventions in the future with the aim to maintain cognitive abilities or even postpone cognitive impairment. The aim of this Research Topic is, therefore, to provide the reader with an understanding of how cognitive training and/or environmental enrichment may influence cognitive abilities and/or brain outcomes differently in old age.

In this article collection, we welcome articles that may employ different methods (e.g. experimental, interventions, longitudinal studies) but with the common aim to better understand differential effects on cognitive functioning and/or brain outcomes as a result of cognitive training or environmental enrichment. These can include (but are not limited to):
• cognitive training programs;
• leisure activities;
• language learning;
• exercise and physical activities;
• social activities;
• intellectual challenges.
We welcome articles with also non-significant results, since this will give a more accurate picture of the differential effects of cognitive training on cognitive outcomes.


Keywords: ageing, old age, cognitive training, cognitive stimulation, brain training, cognitive exercise, environmental enrichment, memory functioning, cognitive functioning


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Today, as we live longer, cognitive impairment and cases of dementia increase globally. Thus, ways of how to maintain or even improve levels of cognitive functioning in old age have been widely investigated in recent years.

Some studies suggest that older adults can improve their cognitive performance following participation in intensive cognitive training programs. In addition, intervention studies, as well as longitudinal data, also suggest that some cognitive benefits can occur from environmental factors such as leisure activities, language learning, social activities, and physical exercise.

Despite the interest in factors that may contribute to improve cognitive functioning in older adults, many studies on humans have reported relatively domain-specific and near transfer effects from cognitive training programs. This means that when transfer effects occur, these are primarily restricted to highly similar situations. In general, far transfer effects to other areas than those practiced have been hard to demonstrate. In the same vein, it must be identified which specific cognitive functions are trained, and which are not, by environmental enrichment in real life (e.g. leisure activity, language learning, physical exercise). More studies are also needed that can generalize the effects of cognitive training into situations in everyday life since this would have practical implications for the aging society.

To conclude, there is a need for a better understanding of the behavioral/cognitive (i.e. cognitive task performance) and brain outcomes that actually are (and are not) influenced by certain cognitive training programs and environmental enrichment factors in old age. Such knowledge may increase our understanding of how to develop more personalized interventions in the future with the aim to maintain cognitive abilities or even postpone cognitive impairment. The aim of this Research Topic is, therefore, to provide the reader with an understanding of how cognitive training and/or environmental enrichment may influence cognitive abilities and/or brain outcomes differently in old age.

In this article collection, we welcome articles that may employ different methods (e.g. experimental, interventions, longitudinal studies) but with the common aim to better understand differential effects on cognitive functioning and/or brain outcomes as a result of cognitive training or environmental enrichment. These can include (but are not limited to):
• cognitive training programs;
• leisure activities;
• language learning;
• exercise and physical activities;
• social activities;
• intellectual challenges.
We welcome articles with also non-significant results, since this will give a more accurate picture of the differential effects of cognitive training on cognitive outcomes.


Keywords: ageing, old age, cognitive training, cognitive stimulation, brain training, cognitive exercise, environmental enrichment, memory functioning, cognitive functioning


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

11 July 2020 Abstract
08 November 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

11 July 2020 Abstract
08 November 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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