Computerized Cognitive Training Game for Executive Abilities

Gerald Voelbel, associate professor of Occupational Therapy has received a 2015 Innovative, Development, Exploratory Awards (IDEAs) to study the effects of a gamified computerized cognitive training program for healthy adults, as well as adults who have suffered a traumatic brain injury. Approximately 1.5 million people sustain a TBI each year, and approximately 5.3 million people are living with a disability as a result of TBI. The study has two specific aims: 1) To test the hypothesis that the use of the computerized cognitive training program, Space Ranger Alien Quest, can improve executive functions with a sample of healthy adults; and 2) To test the hypothesis that executive functions can be remediated with the Space Ranger Alien Quest in adults with a TBI. The study will examine the training effects of switching between tasks, and therefore it may have benefits for all adults.

The study is a collaboration between Voelbel and Jan Plass, Ph.D., NYU Steinhardt’s Paulette Goddard Chair in Digital Media and Learning Sciences and Director for the Center for Research and Evaluation of Advanced Technologies in Education (CREATE). The ultimate goal is to collect pilot data that will lead to a line of cognitive intervention research amongst the collaborators that will target executive functions in neurological populations. The results of the data collected will be presented at educational, psychological, and neurocognitive conferences, and will be published in peer-reviewed journals. Congratulations, Jerry!