It’s been long known in the scientific community that performance in academics, professional accomplishments and other real life outcomes are intimately connected to more fundamental abilities. In a sense, this idea is not new for most people– Many people believe that how we do in life – in academics and otherwise is linked to how intelligent we are and for the most part we believe it is something we can’t change. Except that what Neuroscience research in the last 2 decades has shown is that our academic and professional success is not related to a unitary elusive factor like intelligence but due to several different, somewhat independent Cognitive abilities. The more interesting finding is that many of these abilities can be trained and training them can have real consequences – in terms of academic achievement and in terms of ability to reason and problem solve.
One such factors that researchers have identified is called Working Memory. Working Memory is like a mental text pad somewhat like the RAM in the computer where we store and manipulate information while we are thinking. Imagine you were reading an academic article that is somewhat complex – You read the first line and then move on to the next. Your ability to make sense of this second sentence depends on whether you are able it to put it in the context of the 1st sentence – in other words you need to temporarily store the first line and process it, while you are reading the 2nd. Likewise, when you perform a mental multiplication – say 23 X 21, you would typically have to store and manipulate many intermediate numbers. Research has shown – including Cognosia’s own experience of working with schools, that Working memory is a powerful predictor of academic achievement even after accounting for intelligence.
The idea behind Cognition Training is to work on these foundational abilities like Working Memory and improve them over time.
For most part of the 20th century, scientists believed that the brain is a physiologically static organ that does not change after a critical period in childhood. Brain sciences underwent a paradigm shift in the late 20th century as more and more evidence was uncovered suggesting that the brain changes significantly over the course of our lifetimes and that this change can be caused by our own actions.
This notion – That our brain can change structurally and functionally due to our own behaviour, called “Neuroplasticity” is now firmly grounded in scientific theory and has revolutionized the way we look at our own brains. Just to be sure, the human mind still remains somewhat of a mystery when compared with the rest of the human body. But, there seem to be some similarities in the way they work. Research has repeatedly confirmed what can now be accepted as a fact of science that, the brain can be exercised just like the human body and both short term and long term physical changes can be observed in the brain through this process. This is the foundational stone of cognitive brain training.
Neurons in the brain are the active elements of brain function and there are tens of billions of them. These billions of neurons are connected to each other through links or synapses. It has been observed that behavioural changes result in reorganization of this neural architecture and conversely, changes in neural architecture changes behaviour. How we benefit from this beautiful aspect of the brain is what inspired Cognosia.
One of the main pillars of Cognition Training is this idea of “Deliberate Practice”. It is the idea that for improvement on any ability to happen, one needs to be operating at the boundary of his or her competence and in an effortful way look to push the boundaries. One thing researchers realized early on was that the perfect way to realize the concept of deliberate practice is through games. Over the years, games have been used in research settings to develop specific Cognitive abilities and researchers have had a lot of success with it. At Cognosia, we have developed over 30 games that are based on the research are designed to train specific cognitive abilities.
Other proven ideas in Cognition Training include the idea of building connections between different forms of learning, developing metacognitive skills, visualization and ideas to deepen learning. Based on these principles, at Cognosia, we’ve built a differentiated Core Cognition Curriculum that trains individuals on core cognitive abilities.