Public awareness of cognitive health is fairly recent compared to physical health. Growing evidence suggests that cognitive training offers promise in augmenting cognitive brain performance in normal and clinical populations. Targeting higher-order cognitive functions, such as reasoning in particular, may promote generalized cognitive changes necessary for supporting the complexities of daily life. This data-driven perspective highlights cognitive and brain changes measured in randomized clinical trials that trained gist reasoning strategies in populations ranging from teenagers to healthy older adults, individuals with brain injury to those at-risk for Alzheimer's disease. The evidence presented across studies support the potential for Gist reasoning training to strengthen cognitive performance in trained and untrained domains and to engage more efficient communication across widespread neural networks that support higher-order cognition. The meaningful benefits of Gist training provide compelling motivation to examine optimal dose for sustained benefits as well as to explore additive benefits of meditation, physical exercise, and/or improved sleep in future studies.
Keywords: cognitive training, gist reasoning, cognition, neural, brain plasticity
Citation: Chapman SB and Mudar RA (2014) Enhancement of cognitive and neural functions through complex reasoning training: evidence from normal and clinical populations. Front. Syst. Neurosci. 8:69. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2014.00069
Received: 31 January 2014; Accepted: 10 April 2014;
Published online: 28 April 2014.
Edited by:Mikhail Lebedev, Duke University, USA
Reviewed by:Jitendra Sharma, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
Copyright © 2014 Chapman and Mudar. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
*Correspondence: Sandra B. Chapman, Center for BrainHealth®, The University of Texas at Dallas, 2200 W Mockingbird Ln, Dallas, TX, 75235, USA e-mail: email@example.com