Effects of cognitive training with and without aerobic exercise on cognitively demanding everyday activities

Mark A. McDaniel, Ellen F. Binder, Julie M. Bugg, Emily R. Waldum, Carolyn Dufault, Amanda Meyer, Jennifer Johanning, Jie Zheng, Kenneth B. Schechtman, Chris Kudelka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


We investigated the potential benefits of a novel cognitive-training protocol and an aerobic exercise intervention, both individually and in concert, on older adults' performances in laboratory simulations of select real-world tasks. The cognitive training focused on a range of cognitive processes, including attentional coordination, prospective memory, and retrospective-memory retrieval, processes that are likely involved in many everyday tasks, and that decline with age. Primary outcome measures were 3 laboratory tasks that simulated everyday activities: Cooking Breakfast, Virtual Week, and Memory for Health Information. Two months of cognitive training improved older adults' performance on prospective-memory tasks embedded in Virtual Week. Cognitive training, either alone or in combination with 6 months of aerobic exercise, did not significantly improve Cooking Breakfast or Memory for Health Information. Although gains in aerobic power were comparable with previous reports, aerobic exercise did not produce improvements for the primary outcome measures. Discussion focuses on the possibility that cognitive-training programs that include explicit strategy instruction and varied practice contexts may confer gains to older adults for performance on cognitively challenging everyday tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-730
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology and Aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014


  • Aerobic exercise
  • Aging
  • Cognitive training
  • Improving prospective memory
  • Multi-modal training
  • Strategy training


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