Effect of a working memory training on aspects of cognitive ability and driving ability of older drivers: Merits of an adaptive training over a non-adaptive training

Ariane Cuenen*, Ellen M. M. Jongen, Tom Brijs, Kris Brijs, Katrijn Houben, Geert Wets

*Corresponding author for this work

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Working memory (WM), important for driving, declines with age. It was investigated whether a WM training would enhance aspects of cognitive ability and driving ability of older drivers. Thirty-eight drivers (mean age 71 years) were randomly assigned to an adaptive WM training (n = 19) or a non-adaptive WM training (n = 19). In addition, a no-training control group was collected (n = 18). During the pre-test and post-test, aspects of cognitive ability and driving ability were assessed. In between, participants in" the adaptive training group and the non-adaptive training group conducted a WM" training. We hypothesized that improvement on aspects of cognitive ability and driving ability will be largest in the adaptive training group, smaller in the non-adaptive training group and only minimal in the no-training control group. Results indicated that this hypothesis was confirmed for a measure of WM. For two driving measures (i.e., driving speed and reaction to stop signs), group means were in the expected direction, but results were only marginally significant. In addition, there were general test-retest effects for a measure of attention and one driving measure (i.e., gap acceptance). These results are in line with previous cognitive training studies with older people indicating training can improve performance on the trained tasks, but transfer to untrained tasks is only limited. Suggestions for future research are offered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
JournalTransportation Research Part F-Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


  • Training
  • Working memory
  • Driving
  • Aging
  • Simulator

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