Axe 1 - Cognitive Training and Cognitive Architectures - 29 janvier 2020

29-01-2020 - 10h00 à 12h00 - Salle plate 031 - RdC MSHS

Does cognitive training work?

Chess players, musicians and video-game players tend to be more intelligent than individuals not engaged in these activities. It has thus been proposed than practising these activities improves cognitive ability and fosters educational achievements. Similar claims have been made with respect to other activities such as working memory training and brain training. This talk will review several meta-analyses performed to address these claims. It will also discuss the results of a second-order meta-analysis (a meta-meta-analysis) that examines all these domains simultaneously. The results are very consistent across domains: whilst there is evidence for near transfer (i.e. transfer to similar tasks), there is very little evidence for far transfer (i.e., transfer of a set of skills
between domains only weakly related to each other). When placebo effects and publication biases are controlled for, the overall effect size for far transfer is essentially zero. These results cast serious doubts on the effectiveness of cognitive training for improving overall cognitive ability. They are also theoretically important: they support theories of learning and expertise such as chunking and template theories that emphasise domain-specific knowledge, and strongly suggest that the lack of generalisation of skills acquired by training is an invariant of human cognition.

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