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Understanding the mechanisms underlying cognitive training effects

   Department of Psychology

Sheffield United Kingdom Health Psychology Neuropsychology Neuroscience Psychology

About the Project

Can the repetitive practice of cognitive tasks – as in ’brain training’ programs – effectively enhance cognitive abilities such as reasoning? Even after more than a decade of intensive research efforts, this question is still highly controversial, with prior studies and meta-analyses yielding inconsistent results. However, one robust and replicable finding is that trainees strongly improve in the tasks they practiced. In this project, the PhD student will investigate the mechanisms underlying those improvements during training and examine whether and how they can explain the presence or absence of gains in novel tasks. For students starting in 2021, there will also the opportunity to investigate this topic within the context of a larger-scale cognitive training study across the adult lifespan conducted with collaborators in Germany and Canada.

Please also see our website for more information about our lab:

Funding Notes

Self funded or externally sponsored students only. Intakes are usually October and March annually.

NB The University has some scholarships under competition each year. More details can be found - View Website


* De Simoni, C., & von Bastian, C. C. (2018). Working memory updating and binding training: Bayesian evidence supporting the absence of transfer. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 147(6), 829-858. doi:10.1037/xge0000453

* Meiran, N., Dreisbach, G., & von Bastian, C. C. (2019). Mechanisms of working-memory training: Insights from individual differences. Intelligence, 73, 78-87. doi: 10.1016/j.intell.2019.01.010

* von Bastian, C.C., & Oberauer, K. (2014). Effects and mechanisms of working memory training: A review. Psychological Research, 78(6), 803-820. doi: 10.1007/s00426-013-0524-6

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