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The Potential of a Relational Training Intervention to Improve Older Adults’ Cognition

Kelly, Michelle E. (2020) The Potential of a Relational Training Intervention to Improve Older Adults’ Cognition. Behavior Analysis in Practice. ISSN 2196-8934

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Official URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40617-020-00415-0

Abstract

Behavioral gerontology rarely focuses on improving older adults’ cognitive function. This gap in the literature should be addressed, as our aging population means that greater numbers of older adults are experiencing cognitive decline and reduced functional independence. If cognitive training interventions are to be socially significant, they should target improvements in core executive functions (EFs) that are critical for everyday cognition and functioning independence. Evidence from the cognitive sciences suggests that a cognitive training intervention targeting “relational knowledge” and “cognitive flexibility,” which are core EFs, could translate to improvements in cognition and functioning for older adults. Behavioral researchers, interested in the effects of relational training on cognition, have shown a relationship between complex and flexible arbitrarily applicable relational responding (AARRing) and improved performance on measures of intelligence in children and young adults. However, data examining the impact of AARRing on the cognition of older adults are lacking. This article suggests that complex and flexible AARRing may be synonymous with the aforementioned EFs of relational knowledge and cognitive flexibility, and that a behaviorally oriented relational training intervention might improve cognition and functioning for healthy older adults or those experiencing cognitive decline. The article initially presents a brief overview of research in behavioral gerontology and older adult cognition, followed by a detailed explanation of how training complexity and flexibility in AARRing could result in improvements in core EFs. Specific suggestions for designing a relational training intervention and assessing relevant outcomes are provided.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > Psychology > Cognition
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > Psychology > Cognitive psychology
Divisions: School of Business > Staff Research and Publications
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dan English
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2020 10:45
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2020 10:45
URI: http://trap.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/4326

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