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Cognitive training enhances auditory attention efficiency in older adults.
Faculty Publications
  • Jennifer L. O'Brien
  • Jennifer J. Lister
  • Bernadette A. Fausto
  • Gregory K. Clifton
  • Jerri D. Edwards
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Jennifer O’Brien

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Auditory cognitive training (ACT) improves attention in older adults; however, the underlying neurophysiological mechanisms are still unknown. The present study examined the effects of ACT on the P3b event-related potential reflecting attention allocation (amplitude) and speed of processing (latency) during stimulus categorization and the P1-N1-P2 complex reflecting perceptual processing (amplitude and latency). Participants completed an auditory oddball task before and after 10 weeks of ACT (n = 9) or a no contact control period (n = 15). Parietal P3b amplitudes to oddball stimuli decreased at post-test in the trained group as compared to those in the control group, and frontal P3b amplitudes show a similar trend, potentially reflecting more efficient attentional allocation after ACT. No advantages for the ACT group were evident for auditory perceptual processing or speed of processing in this small sample. Our results provide preliminary evidence that ACT may enhance the efficiency of attention allocation, which may account for the positive impact of ACT on the everyday functioning of older adults.

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Citation Information
O’Brien, J.L., Lister, J.J., Fausto, B.A., Clifton, G.K. & Edwards, J.D. (2017). Cognitive training enhances auditory attention efficiency in older adults. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 9. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2017.00322