Virtual reality against memory loss

A cognitive core competence training for the autonomous prevention at home

Preventing cognitive decline in old age requires scientific training approaches that can be conducted autonomously from home. In our research we have focused on cognitive training of attentional filtering and were able to induce far transfer effects on working memory and other everyday-related functions, e.g. decision-making. In order to link these findings with the aim of prevention at home, we are planning to use virtual reality (VR) for the training of elderly people.

We are interested in far training transfer on memory, attention, executive functions as well as everyday performance in realistic test settings. An evaluation training study will give further insights into these transfer effects to optimize the VR training.

The project "Virtual reality against memory loss - a cognitive core competence training for the autonomous prevention at home" is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (Europäischer Fonds für regionale Entwicklung, EFRE) – Autonomy in Old Age (AiA) for three years.

The project is supervised by Dr. Marlen Schmicker (principal investigator) and coordinated by Inga Menze, MSc.

Key publications

  • Schmicker M, Menze I, Schneider C, Taubert M, Zaehle T, Mueller NG. (2021). Making the rich richer: Frontoparietal tDCS enhances transfer effects of a single-session distractor inhibition training on working memory in high capacity individuals but reduces them in low capacity individuals. Neuroimage. 2021 Jul 29;242:118438. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118438. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34332042.
  • Schmicker, M., Schwefel, M., Vellage, A. K., & Müller, N. G. (2016). Training of attentional filtering, but not of memory storage, enhances working memory efficiency by strengthening the neuronal gatekeeper network. Journal of cognitive neuroscience, 28(4), 636-642.
  • Schmicker, M., Müller, P., Schwefel, M., & Müller, N. G. (2017). Attentional Filter Training but Not Memory Training Improves Decision-Making. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 11, 138.
  • Schmicker, M., & Müller, N. G. (2018). Age-dependent enhancement of advantageous decisions in the Iowa Gambling Task after Training Selective Attention. Psychological Applications and Trends, 369.
  • Rumpf, U., Menze, I., Mueller, N. G., & Schmicker, M. (2019). Investigating the potential role of ecological validity on change-detection memory tasks and distractor processing in younger and older adults. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1046.

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