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Title: Once upon a time there was far transfer
Author: Sala, G.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 2997
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2017
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The last two decades have seen the rise of cognitive-training research. Strong claims have been made. Roaring refutations have been published. Then again counter-evidence supporting the effectiveness of cognitive training has been produced. Definite conclusions are far from being drawn. Undoubtedly, due to the potential theoretical and practical implications, the idea of enhancing cognitive function and, hence, a broad range of other real-life skills by training is appealing. However, this idea is at variance with substantial research into the psychology of expertise showing that performance in specific tasks relies massively on perceptual information. In fact, such information is hardly transferable across different domains. To solve these discrepancies, I ran a series of meta-analytic models to examine the effects of several types of cognitive training (i.e., chess, music, working memory, video-game, and exergame training) on cognitive and academic skills in different types of populations. None of the five types of cognitive training exerted any meaningful effect on any non-trained skill. While confirming the previous findings of the research on expertise, these results convincingly reject the cognitive-training hypothesis. The lack of generalization across different domains of skills acquired by training appears to be a constant in human cognition. The program of research of cognitive training has failed. Transfer of skills across loosely related domains remains a chimera.
Supervisor: Gobet, F. ; Stancak, A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral