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Cognitive Training

Computer-based cognitive games are used to train processing speed and attention. An adaptive algorithm adjusts the difficulty of each task, so that individuals perform near their optimal capacity to maximize the training effect on the brain. 

Guided Breathing

These relaxing exercises involve different types of breathing, focus, and visualizations. They can improve well-being, and may put you in a better state to get most out of the activities you are performing.

Research Background

In research into aging, behavioral interventions form a group of methods (including cognitive training, meditation, exercise, etc.) that have been shown to prevent or delay cognitive decline. These interventions are especially popular with older adults as they do not require people to take pills, and have a near-complete lack of side-effects or risks. They are also very flexible, as they are able to be tailored to people’s needs and schedules. They can also be fun and provide benefits to health and wellbeing beyond the prevention of cognitive decline. Cognitive training is one type of non-pharmacological intervention that may help prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease (AD). One of these training “games” has been shown to help people perform better at similar kinds of games, but has caused limited improvements in the more central skills that decline in AD, like memory.


Previously, our lab has studied how these games can be improved to focus on broader skills that are more likely to benefit people in their everyday lives. We found that certain parts of the brain might be important to target for these types of benefits, and that changing the way regions of the brain talk to one another is especially vital to causing improvements that go beyond the specific skill the game requires. 


In addition to trying to change the brain in specific ways, other aspects of these games have been shown to be important for allowing more broad improvements, for example, how hard they are and the state people are in when they play them. Research suggests that some kinds of meditation or breathing exercises can help put people into the right state, so that they can get the most out of these games. It has been proposed that altering the state of a person’s brain using these techniques makes it especially able to adapt during brain training games in a way that leads to real-world benefits. This study is designed to test that by combining our previous research using cognitive training with different types of meditation (i.e. guided breathing).

Study Aims

  • Determine whether doing certain types of meditation/breathe exercises before cognitive training improve benefits of cognitive training.

  • Find out whether this works by putting your brain in the best state to adapt during training

Study Participation 

The BREATHE study is recruiting adults ages 60-89 years of age who are interested in memory or stress reduction research. BREATHE is up to 14-months long and involves

  • up to 4 cognitive assessments that test memory and other cognitive functions

  • up to 4 fMRI brain scans

  • up to 3 blood draws

  • 12-weeks of intervention

Participants will be paid up to $400 for completion of all study measures. 

Interested in

participating in a study

or want more information

about our research?

Contact us!

Contact the CogT Lab

University of Rochester

Stanford University

(585) 276-5999

(650) 725-0581

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