Project Details

Early Career

Status: Funded - Closed

Modeling and testing change in mental abilities in childhood through computer-based interventions

Prapti Gautam, Ph.D.


BACKGROUND: Children with low executive function, working memory and attention skills in childhood not only do poorly at school, but also go on to do poorly on social, health, and financial indicators in adulthood.

GAP: Since it is still not known what efficacy and adherence to protocol can be expected during targeted cognitive interventions, the current research aims to determine these factors in children with poor executive function skills and poor school grades; and will have broad applicability for children with and without specific diagnosis of attention and working memory disorders.

HYPOTHESIS: Hypothesis 1. Those with lower working memory will also have lower problem solving skills and lower indices of other executive functioning skills such as reasoning/problem solving.
Hypothesis 2. Children that start with lower WM and PS will show the highest gains in training related performance, and such high gains on WM and PS will lead to better performance post-intervention compared to baseline measures of cognitive function.
Hypothesis 3: Those who make the largest gains in WM and PS with training will show more retention of training gains at 6 months compared those who show lower gains.

METHODS: The purpose of this study is to establish an effective and targeted working memory and processing speed intervention in children ages 7-10 with low to average executive function skills, by utilizing home-based computer games specifically designed to appeal to children.
Following institution approved consents, 60 low socioeconomic status children from Los Angeles will be recruited and enrolled in the study and be asked to play specific fun, but targeted cognitive computer games for 10 weeks.

RESULTS: Pending.

IMPACT: The results of this pilot study will establish a protocol for feasibility of improving executive function skills in children with underdeveloped skills and inform on sufficiency of sample sizes, length of interventions, and directly impact computer-based intervention research and cost-effective techniques in children’s cognitive development within the next 3-5 years.

Supervising Institution:
University of Southern California

John McArdle

Project Location:

Award Amount: