Does (Johnny) Mnemonic Training Work?

The takeaway:

Mnemnonic training does work, if the individuals are 'engaged' and follow a program. Past performance is the most reliable indicator of future success...Adds to the use it or lose it observation with regard to the brain.

O'hara R, Brooks JO 3rd, Friedman L, Schroder CM, Morgan KS, Kraemer HC.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5550, United States.

The purpose of our study was to investigate the long-term effect of mnemonic training on memory performance in older adults. Five years after participation in a mnemonic training study, we followed-up 112 community-dwelling older adults, 60 years of age and over. Delayed recall of a word list was assessed prior to, and immediately following mnemonic training, and at the 5-year follow-up. Overall, there was no significant difference between word recall prior to training and that exhibited at follow-up. However, pre-training performance, gain scores in performance immediately post-training and use of the mnemonic predicted performance at follow-up. Individuals who self-reported using the mnemonic exhibited the highest performance overall, with scores significantly higher than at pre-training. Our findings suggest that mnemonic training has long-term benefits for some older adults, particularly those who continue to employ the mnemonic.

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