home
RSS
January 18th, 2012
11:27 AM ET

Study: Challenging seniors' brains can also change their personality

We’ve all heard the adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks." But new research reveals that you CAN teach an older adult how to improve their brain skills, with the added effect of changing a personality trait, making them more open to new experiences.

Using subjects from a study designed to improve brain skills of older people, the researchers hypothesized that improving cognitive skills might also increase participants openness - a personality trait that allows a person to be receptive to new experiences or being engaged by novel ideas such as an intellectual challenge.

Lead researcher Elizabeth Stine-Morrow of the University of Illinois explains, “It also makes sense that, reciprocally, if you engage in cognitive abilities that you enjoy and that are rewarding, that will also make you open to experience. And that’s what we found.”

The study, published in Psychology and Aging, included 183 older adults, ages 60 to 94 years old. Half of the participants were randomly assigned to a 16 week long home-based program designed to improve their inductive reasoning skills, and the remaining subjects served as the control group. 

All participants were tested on measures of  inductive reasoning before the study began and again after the 16-week study period. The control group subjects simply engaged in the pre- and post-study testing.

Each training group participant was given self-guided material that included tests for recognizing patterns in numbers and letters, along with crossword and Sudoku puzzles, which also sharpen inductive reasoning skills. The material was designed to allow each subject to feel challenged by the material, but not overwhelmed or frustrated by the tasks.

Participants kept logs of how much time they spent on the material, and each week they met with researchers, turning in their logs, and getting more challenging material to work on the following week.  While both the control subjects and the intervention subjects tested similarly in the pre-study testing, after the 16 week study, the researchers found a significant increase in measures of inductive reasoning and openness among the intervention group.

“The hallmark of this program is that [the seniors] were learning a concrete skill and they could see this in their test performance,” Stine-Morrow explains. 

The research is unique in that, “people in the inductive reasoning group gradually increased in their scores on a very reliable measure of openness to experience,” she adds. This is novel because “there’s a lot of research that suggests as we get older... people don’t change radically in their personality... so the fact that we could, with a small cognitive intervention, increase this openness to experience, which in the long run may affect cognition, it’s exciting and a little bit different.”

When asked to explain the take-home message of their study, Stine-Morrow cautioned that the results must first be replicated in future studies. But what the results imply, she says, is that it’s a good idea to put yourself in situations where you learn new things in a way that doesn’t overwhelm you.

"So stay somewhat in your comfort zone, but push on the boundaries a little bit. And that in turn is likely to make you more comfortable with new experiences, so ideally this could be a sort of self perpetuating process.”

Stine-Morrow notes that there’s a lot of debate in scientific literature about whether people can alter cognitive processes with brain activity, adding that scientists know “that people who are engaged in a lot of [brain] activity do better in a variety of ways, but we need to be careful here. What we know is that really active people have better cognitive abilities, but it could be that if you’re more cognitively vital, then you have more resources to go do all these things.”

It may be as simple as use it or lose it – it certainly can’t harm our brains to pick up a challenging word or number puzzle.


« Previous entry
soundoff (669 Responses)
  1. Leda Farry

    thank you

    https://www.luxuryophthal.com/

    June 5, 2021 at 13:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Freightline Sprinter Repair

    Hi! I could have sworn Iíve visited this site before but after going through some of the articles I realized itís new to me. Nonetheless, Iím certainly happy I stumbled upon it and Iíll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!

    https://www.auhoney.net/link.php?url=https://sprintervanrepair.com/

    June 5, 2021 at 20:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. orange county trailers

    https://www.tapinto.net/newsletters/5bf3cd94a06be2548000001f/register_click?url=https://ocrvcenter.mobi/rv-repair-shop-big-bear-lake-california

    June 5, 2021 at 20:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. flower shop near me

    After looking over a few of the blog posts on your website, I seriously appreciate your way of writing a blog. I bookmarked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back soon. Please visit my web site too and tell me how you feel.

    http://moe.gov.np/site/language/swaplang/1/?redirect=http://bulknearme.com/

    June 5, 2021 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Sprinter Van Repair Shops Near Me

    When I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I recieve four emails with the same comment. There has to be a way you are able to remove me from that service? Kudos!

    http://cocha.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=fleetrepairshops.com

    June 6, 2021 at 03:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Natural Vape Juice

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post! It is the little changes which will
    make the greatest changes. Many thanks for sharing!

    June 6, 2021 at 18:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. rv awning repair near me

    http://www.openrouter.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.ocrv.store/

    June 6, 2021 at 18:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. orange cz

    https://www.isixsigma.com/share.php?site=http://ocrvcenter.org/rv-repair-shop-walnut-california

    June 7, 2021 at 01:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Freightliner Sprinter Repair Near Me

    https://maps.google.gy/url?q=http://sprintervanrepair.com/

    June 7, 2021 at 02:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. phone repair near me

    http://worldcruisepoints.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=masternearme.com

    June 7, 2021 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. cheap ejuice

    Appreciate the recommendation. Will try it out.

    June 7, 2021 at 18:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. esurance rv insurance

    https://www.worldarchitecture.org/community/links/?waurl=http://ocrv.today/rv-repair-shop-twentynine-palms-california

    June 7, 2021 at 22:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. refrigerators orange county

    I'm very pleased to uncover this page. I want to to thank you for ones time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information on your site.

    http://engine.pitchengine.com/v1/util/link?c=PitchLink&a=/v1/pitches/e829965b-ded0-4c0a-9ffe-757942058364&v=http://www.laviemodernfurniture.com/&l=https://ocrv.world/rv-couch-repair-near-me

    June 7, 2021 at 22:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. dash board repair

    The next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't fail me as much as this particular one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, nonetheless I truly believed you would have something helpful to say. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something you could fix if you weren't too busy searching for attention.

    http://brooklynohio.gov/TRK/C/3p6zZpKrM9Y=/X/ClickTarget.aspx?url=http://agit-polska.de/wp-pl/reunion/

    June 7, 2021 at 22:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RV Renovation Los Angeles

    Hi, I think your blog might be having web browser compatibility problems. When I look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Apart from that, excellent blog!

    https://fms.treas.gov/fmsweb/disclaimer.jsp?ciURL=https://caroncfurniture.com.ng/product/mtn-work-station-factory-14mx8-5/

    June 7, 2021 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. rv wraps near me

    Iím amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog thatís both equally educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that too few folks are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy that I came across this during my search for something relating to this.

    http://tbsa.so-buy.com/front/bin/adsclick.phtml?Nbr=11promotion_700x120&URL=http://ocrv.org/rv-repair-shop-la-tuna-canyon-california

    June 8, 2021 at 12:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. camper repair center

    https://nowlifestyle.com/redir.php?k=9a4e080456dabe5eebc8863cde7b1b48&url=http://ocrvmotorsports.com/rv-camera-repair-near-me

    June 8, 2021 at 15:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. RV Refrigerator Near Me

    bookmarked!!, I like your blog!

    https://www.treasury.gov/cgi-bin/redirect.cgi/?https://www.pozodeserpientes.com/los-nuevos-farmacos-contra-el-cancer-se-quedan-sin-financiacion-especial-en-los-presupuestos/comment-page-453/

    June 8, 2021 at 16:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. private detectives mallorca

    Wow, that's what I was exploring for, what a information! existing here at this
    blog, thanks admin of this site.

    June 8, 2021 at 17:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. car upholstery repair orange county

    This is a topic that is close to my heart... Many thanks! Exactly where are your contact details though?

    https://www.dmca.com/Protection/Status.aspx?ID=edc817fd-d796-4c84-abb8-d1cb5b2e3719&refurl=https://www.publiensayos.com/culture-shock-el-choque-cultural/

    June 8, 2021 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Local Marketing Consultant

    This website was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something that helped me. Appreciate it!

    https://www.google.ps/url?q=http://searchinteraction.com/

    June 9, 2021 at 03:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Jim Azimi

    When I initially commented I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I recieve four emails with the exact same comment. There has to be a means you can remove me from that service? Cheers!

    http://jaredp41g0.blog2learn.com/47835170/considerations-to-know-about-internet-marketing-company-near-me

    June 9, 2021 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Jimmie Marland

    http://help.dedecms.com/plus/player/index.php?url=https://claytono04f6.frewwebs.com/5171145/time-for-kitchen-reworking-five-indicators-that-demonstrate-it-is-time-to-remodel

    June 9, 2021 at 11:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Normand Oram

    I like reading an article that can make men and women think. Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!

    https://www.treasury.gov/cgi-bin/redirect.cgi/?https://www.sethj70n8.bloggadores.com/4098846/examine-this-report-on-repair-shop

    June 9, 2021 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Studies show that obesity has become more as well as of an epidemic among our youths

    I really like your writing style, good information, thank you for
    posting :D.

    June 9, 2021 at 11:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Digital Marketing Companies Near Me

    Hello! I could have sworn Iíve visited your blog before but after looking at many of the articles I realized itís new to me. Anyways, Iím certainly pleased I discovered it and Iíll be book-marking it and checking back often!

    https://www.igive.com/isearch/NonStoreExit.cfm?type=1&isid=0df7d37f-4feb-4f0f-b472-1df60f43914d&rurl=http://www.rankemailads.com/

    June 9, 2021 at 16:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Le Lumm

    http://edwin4y1w9.look4blog.com/39788446/the-smart-trick-of-rv-repairs-near-me-that-nobody-is-discussing

    June 9, 2021 at 18:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Pablo Emily

    Your style is so unique in comparison to other folks I've read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this blog.

    http://www.bshare.cn/share?url=https://franciscoj70o9.webdesign96.com/4771175/not-known-facts-about-repair-shop

    June 9, 2021 at 22:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. rv repair near me now

    Howdy, I think your website might be having internet browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in I.E., it's got some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Besides that, excellent site!

    https://scanmail.trustwave.com/?c=8510&d=4qa02KqxZJadHuhFUvy7ZCUfI_2L10yeH0EeBz7FGQ&u=https://tomspeed.de/index.php?option=com_phocaguestbook&view=phocaguestbook&id=1&Itemid=53&t=3060&limitstart=200&el_mcal_month=3&el_mcal_year=2020/

    June 10, 2021 at 00:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Moshe Geister

    Hello! I could have sworn Iíve visited your blog before but after going through many of the posts I realized itís new to me. Anyhow, Iím definitely pleased I came across it and Iíll be bookmarking it and checking back often!

    http://rowanq92t1.blog5.net/42040179/digital-marketing-course-options

    June 10, 2021 at 02:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. rv repair shops near me

    https://posts.google.com/url?q=https://fastlinkdirectory.com/listing/rv-repair-near-me-3590/

    June 10, 2021 at 09:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Jerry Stenson

    After I initially commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is a way you can remove me from that service? Kudos!

    June 10, 2021 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Luigi Fleurent

    Wonderful post! We will be linking to this great content on our website. Keep up the good writing.

    June 10, 2021 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Elmo Picchi

    http://erickd96v6.uzblog.net/social-media-marketing-agency-options-15194616

    June 10, 2021 at 09:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. slot88

    I do consider all the ideas you've presented
    in your post. They're really convincing and will certainly work.
    Still, the posts are too short for newbies. Could you please prolong them
    a bit from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

    June 10, 2021 at 15:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Dorris Rougier

    http://finnw85u5.designi1.com/23591166/detailed-notes-on-digital-marketing-agencies

    June 10, 2021 at 16:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. rv repair

    https://foro.infojardin.com/proxy.php?link=https://vinylchainlinkfenceinstallationrepair.com

    June 10, 2021 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Deandre Mcray

    Excellent site you've got here.. Itís hard to find high quality writing like yours nowadays. I truly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    June 10, 2021 at 19:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Rebeca Stephans

    http://landenx25b3.blogrenanda.com/5415388/the-single-best-strategy-to-use-for-repair-shop

    June 11, 2021 at 00:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. rv repair shop

    http://www.bookmerken.de/?url=https://griffin7l6f0.tokka-blog.com/3500263/top-latest-five-rv-repairs-near-me-urban-news

    June 11, 2021 at 04:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Ethan Marconis

    bookmarked!!, I really like your website!

    https://bitly.com/a/warning?hash=3nUs1YL&url=https://claytono04f6.frewwebs.com/4841623/about-metal-roof-repair-near-me

    June 11, 2021 at 06:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Evonne Comber

    There is certainly a great deal to learn about this issue. I really like all of the points you have made.

    http://donovani82a5.blogolize.com/The-Basic-Principles-Of-RV-Body-Shop-Near-Me-38921555

    June 11, 2021 at 07:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. rv repair shop

    I really like it when people get together and share opinions. Great website, keep it up!

    http://maps.google.com.vc/url?q=https://kyler2h8g7.activoblog.com/3495321/how-much-you-need-to-expect-you-ll-pay-for-a-good-rv-repair-shop/

    June 11, 2021 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. atm near me

    Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful article. Many thanks for supplying this info.

    bitcoin

    June 11, 2021 at 14:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. remodel center

    http://center.quilt.idv.tw/uchome/link.php?url=ocrv.biz/

    June 11, 2021 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Refrigerator Los Angeles

    I want to to thank you for this good read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have got you book-marked to check out new stuff you postÖ

    http://demo.vieclamcantho.vn/baohiemthatnghiep/Redirect.aspx?sms=90bb20bb20tbb20thc3B4ng&link=https://ocrv.xyz

    June 11, 2021 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Sprinter Service Near Me

    http://www.qingms.com/link.php?url=http://www.customcampervans.com

    June 11, 2021 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Courier Van Repair

    http://ppp.ph/jp/bin/bbs/redirect.php?u=https://www.fleetservicerepairshop.com/

    June 11, 2021 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Campervan Repair Near Me

    http://huntermarine.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=campervanrepairshop.com

    June 11, 2021 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. slot dollar 138

    Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your article
    seem to be running off the screen in Safari. I'm not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with internet browser
    compatibility but I thought I'd post to let you know.
    The design and style look great though! Hope you get the problem resolved
    soon. Cheers

    June 12, 2021 at 02:53 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

« Previous entry
Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.