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 used 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 status (SES), show disparities in their brain and behavioral responses during working memory tasks. A group of 80 low-SES children practiced a cognitive training game in their homes for 15 sessions over 4 weeks; half received the treatment version of the game while half received a control version. Improvements in working memory ability, reasoning and academic achievement were compared between the two groups after training.

Year Project Began: 2012
Funder: National Institutes of Health

Principal Investigator

Richard Bryck, Ph.D.

Affiliated Scientist
Oregon Social Learning Center

Primary Research and Clinical Interests

Dr. Bryck’s primary affiliation is with Landmark College in Putney, VT. Landmark College is one of only two colleges that exclusively serve students with learning differences, such as dyslexia, ADHD, or Autism. Rick serves as the Dean of Educational Research and Innovation at Landmark, where is work revolves around understanding executive function (EF)—primarily the efficacy of interventions, tools, and strategies for supporting EF in students, including best practices for supporting EF in online environments. Dr. Bryck has served as the principal investigator on grants exploring an in-home cognitive training program for low income children, the well-being and academic effects of resilience training for college students with learning differences, and as a program evaluator on a National Science Foundation project that provides STEM mentoring for neurodiverse students. Bryck regularly presents professional development workshops on executive functioning, Universal Design for Learning, and educational techniques for enhancing learning. Rick also regularly teaches an online course for educators, Student Engagement, Self-Regulation, and Motivation. Previous work at OSLC explored the effectiveness of an attention training paradigm to reduce anxiety and stress vulnerability in children with maltreatment histories, the development of a working memory and attentional filtering task for young children, and a computerized training intervention aimed at improving working memory ability in children from low-SES backgrounds.