Beyond social engagement: cognitive training leads to greater cognitive improvement in older adults

Shachar Ben Izhak, Lukas Diedrich, Andrea Antal, Michal Lavidor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aging is often accompanied by a decline in cognitive functions, with memory being particularly affected. Recent studies suggest that cognitive training sessions that teach memory strategies relevant to daily life may benefit seniors who live in the community. However, it is possible that the cognitive improvement observed in these programs results from the social encounters embedded in them. In this study, we aimed to investigate the effect of a social cognitive training group, which met regularly for an extended period, on enhancing cognitive indices compared to a control group that only received social engagement meetings without training. Sixty-six participants with a mean age of 78 took part in 12 sessions of a social engagement group, with or without strategy training. Cognitive performance was assessed before and after training using four memory tasks, two similar to the trained tasks (near-transfer tasks) and two novel (far-transfer tasks). Both groups showed a slight improvement in most of the evaluation tasks, but the cognitive training combined with social engagement group showed a significant improvement in the Word Recall and Verbal Fluency tests compared to the social engagement group without training. Our findings suggest that cognitive training sessions may be a useful tool in promoting cognitive improvement among older adults living in the community, even beyond the improvement obtained from the social engagement that occurs during the training sessions. Trial registration number: NCT05016336. Date of registration: 20 August 2021. Retrospectively registered.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition
Early online date23 May 2023
StateE-pub ahead of print - 23 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Cognitive training
  • memory
  • mnemonic
  • older adults
  • social engagement


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