Raeanne Moore & colleagues found that individuals who engaged in cognitively stimulating activities scored better on cognitive performance tests than those who engaged in passive, less mentally taxing pursuits.

 

Raeanne C. Moore and colleagues published a paper on "Daily Activities Related to Mobile Cognitive Performance in Middle-Aged and Older Adults: An Ecological Momentary Cognitive Assessment Study".

Working, reading and other cognitively stimulating activities are related to better cognitive functioning. Conversely, studies have found that passive activities such as watching television are related to worse cognitive functioning. One problem with the current research on understanding the relationships between daily activities and cognitive functioning is that cognitive testing is usually done on a single day in a lab, which may not reflect real world cognitive performance. In this study, we used smartphones to test participants’ cognitive functions multiple times a day immediately after different types of activity (i.e., at different times during the day, participants’ smartphones would survey what they were doing and then ask them to complete a short cognition test.). The cognitive abilities we tested were executive functioning and learning.

The results showed that older adults (age range for the group was 50 to 74 years; participants included 67 persons with HIV and 36 HIV-negative adults) who engaged in cognitively stimulating activities scored better on cognitive performance tests than those who engaged in passive, less mentally taxing pursuits. This study underscores the potential of using smartphones to assess neurocognitive performance and behavior in participants’ own environment, offering new clarity in understanding the complexities of human behavior.

Authors: Laura M. Campbell, Emily W. Paolillo, Anne Heaton, Bin Tang, Colin A. Depp, Eric Granholm, Robert K. Heaton, Joel Swendsen, David J. Moore, & Raeanne C. Moore

Link to the published paper for this study can be found here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32969829/

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