Gist reasoning training in cognitively normal seniors

Raksha Anand, Sandra B. Chapman, Audette Rackley, Molly Keebler, Jennifer Zientz, John Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective Cognitive impairment is a key factor that threatens functionality and quality of life in seniors. Given the projection that the population of individuals 65 years of age and older will double within the next 25 years, a critical need exists to identify and test effectiveness of protocols that target higher-order cognitive skills such as gist reasoning to maximize cognitive capacity in later life. Methods: This study examined the effects of eight hours of gist reasoning training in 26 cognitively normal seniors between the ages of 64-85 years (M = 74.23, SD = 6.67). Results Findings suggest that top-down strategy-based gist reasoning training significantly improved abstraction ability, a skill relevant to everyday life, as well as generalized to untrained measures of executive function including concept abstraction, cognitive switching, and verbal fluency. Individuals with lower baseline ability to abstract gist showed the greatest gain in the target domain trained. Conclusions These findings highlight the potential value of engaging in cognitively challenging activities that involve gist reasoning, to strengthen and preserve cognitive capacity with aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)961-968
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • executive function
  • gist
  • normal aging
  • reasoning
  • strategy
  • training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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