Cognitive Training Study (CTrain)

Based on Research Conducted at OSLC

A study examining the effects of cognitive training in at-risk children.

Project Overview

The Cognitive Training study uses a computerized training intervention aimed at improving working memory ability in low-income children (age 8–11). Working, or short-term, memory is fundamental to higher-level thinking abilities such as reasoning and academic aptitude. At-risk children, such as those with low-socioeconomic (SES) status, show disparities in their brain and behavioral responses during working memory tasks. A group of 80 low-SES children will practice a cognitive training game in their homes for 15 sessions over 4 weeks; half will receive the treatment version of the game while half receive a control version. Improvements in working memory ability, reasoning and academic achievement will be compared between the two groups after training. If found to be effective in this sample, cognitive training holds vast potential as a economically viable, low-intensity tool for improving outcomes in other at-risk populations.

Year Project Began: 2012
Funder: National Institutes of Health

Principal Investigator

Richard Bryck, Ph.D.

Affiliated Scientist
Oregon Social Learning Center

Active Research Projects

Primary Research and Clinical Interests

Dr. Bryck received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Oregon in 2008. His graduate work centered on the study of executive processes using both behavioral and neuroscience methodologies (fMRI and ERP). Specifically, he explored the interaction between long-term memory and top-down control processes. His current interests involve questions of how stressful early life events affect cognitive functioning, in particular, the development of executive control processes. This includes assessment of change in these systems in at-risk children participating in interventions with a self-regulatory focus. Related research involves the development of novel cognitive training and classroom based prevention/intervention methods, such as the CTrain project. This study tests the effects of an in-home, computerized working memory training program for low-SES children. Previous work at OSLC explored the effectiveness of an attention training paradigm to reduce anxiety and stress vulnerability in children with maltreatment history, and the development of a working memory and attentional filtering task for young children.