There is no research evidence of an immediate decline of the positive effects after a Cogmed intervention. On the contrary, new findings even suggest that they can continue to increase for up to a year. From a short-term perspective we would therefore consider it more important to focus on achieving as great a positive effect(s) as possible during the intervention rather than on the maintenance aspect directly after:
- Develop an intrinsic motivation for the Trainee. An understanding of the intervention itself and the positive impacts it can have on their lives will help with the most important aspect - compliance. Completing the entire program in a correct way is necessary in order for neuroplastic changes to occur to their fullest.
- Ensure that Trainees are fully focused during training in a distraction-free environment. Constantly challenging the working memory at the limit of its capacity (training in the "effort zone") is key to achieving effects.
- Acknowledge and recognize the newly acquired skills after completion. Putting them into actual use in daily life is an important factor that is often overlooked. Trainees should be encouraged to engage in activities that naturally challenge their working memory post training. One hypothesis is that a proper implementation of this aspect could explain the observed continued increase of the effects after completion.
With that said, in case of a suspected drop of working memory capacity after some time, it might be a good idea to take up the protocol again and conduct a new training.
From a long-term perspective on the other hand, cognitive enhancement should not be considered as a one-time-only effort but rather, just like with physical fitness, be integrated as a continuous activity in life. We are therefore working on developing such a long-term maintenance solution to be introduced further down the road. The field is still young and evolving, and we want to ensure it's designed to accommodate our community in the best way possible.