Enhancing latent cognitive capacity in mild cognitive impairment with gist reasoning training: a pilot study

Raksha A. Mudar, Sandra B. Chapman, Audette Rackley, Justin Eroh, Hsueh Sheng Chiang, Alison Perez, Erin Venza, Jeffrey S. Spence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Cognitive training offers a promising way to mitigate cognitive deterioration in individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). This randomized control pilot trial examined the effects of Gist Reasoning Training on cognition as compared with a training involving New Learning in a well-characterized MCI group. Methods: Fifty participants with amnestic MCI were randomly assigned to the experimental Gist Training group or an active control New Learning group. Both groups received 8 h of training over a 4-week period. We compared pre-training with post-training changes in cognitive functions between the two training groups. Results: The Gist Training group showed higher performance in executive function (strategic control and concept abstraction) and memory span compared with the New Learning group. Conversely, the New Learning group showed gains in memory for details. Conclusion: These findings suggest that cognitive training in general yields benefits, and more specifically, training programs that target top–down cognitive functions such as gist reasoning may have a broad impact on improving cognition in MCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)548-555
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • MCI
  • RCT
  • cognitive training
  • executive function
  • gist reasoning
  • memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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