Cognitive Training Does Not Enhance General Cognition

Giovanni Sala:

Due to potential theoretical and societal implications, cognitive training has been one of the most influential topics in psychology and neuroscience. The assumption behind cognitive training is that one’s general cognitive ability can be enhanced by practicing cognitive tasks or intellectually demanding activities. The hundreds of studies published so far have provided mixed findings and systematic reviews have reached inconsistent conclusions. To resolve these discrepancies, we carried out several meta-analytic reviews. The results are highly consistent across all the reviewed domains: minimal effect on domain-general cognitive skills. Crucially, the observed between-study variability is accounted for by design quality and statistical artefacts. The cognitive-training program of research has showed no appreciable benefits, and other more plausible practices to enhance cognitive performance should be pursued.