In modern life, we engage with many sources of information concurrently. To do this, we must continuously switch between different tasks, but this comes at a cost to performance, especially in older adults. Using a large dataset from the Lumosity online cognitive-training platform, Scott Brown, Guy Hawkins and Frini Karayanidis, with their collaborator Mark Steyvers from the University of California, Irvine, developed a computational model of task switching that defines distinct latent measures of activating the relevant task, deactivating the irrelevant task, and making a decision. This model shows that, although task practice can improve task-switching performance, persistent costs remain even after extensive practice, and more so in older adults. The findings show that, with extensive task practice, older people can become functionally similar to less-practiced younger people.
You can see the paper here:
Steyvers, M., Hawkins, G., Karayanidis, F., Brown, S. (Early view 2019). The Temporal Dynamics of Task Switching: A Computational Analysis of Practice and Age Effects in Large-Scale Cognitive Training Data. Proceedings of the National Society of Science, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1906788116
The paper received local coverage in the Newy Herald:
and national coverage in the SMH, The Age, WA Today, Brisbane Times and MSM Australia.https://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/brain-training-shown-to-restore-sharpness-in-older-adults-20190902-p52n2p.html?cspt=1567463411|04893d3da1b2b657d0390f623b155dfb