Understanding the mechanisms underlying cognitive training effects

   Department of Psychology

   Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Can the repetitive practice of cognitive tasks – as in ’brain training’ programs – effectively enhance cognitive abilities such as reasoning? After more than 20 years 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. There will also be 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: http://www.claudiavonbastian.com

Biological Sciences (4) Psychology (31)

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. https://doi.org/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., Belleville, S., Udale, R. C., Reinhartz, A., Essounni, M., & Strobach, T.
(2022). Mechanisms underlying training-induced cognitive change. Nature Reviews Psychology,
1(1), 30-41. https://doi.org/10.1038/s44159-021-00001-3
von Bastian, C.C., & Oberauer, K. (2014). Effects and mechanisms of working memory training:
A review. Psychological Research, 78(6), 803-820. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-013-0524-6

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