Enhancing inferential abilities in adolescence: New hope for students in poverty

Jacquelyn F. Gamino, Michael M. Motes, Russell Riddle, G. Reid Lyon, Jeffrey S. Spence, Sandra B. Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

The ability to extrapolate essential gist through the analysis and synthesis of information, prediction of potential outcomes, abstraction of ideas, and integration of relationships with world knowledge is critical for higher-order learning. The present study investigated the efficacy of cognitive training to elicit improvements in gist reasoning and fact recall ability in 556 public middle school students (grades seven and eight), vs. a sample of 357 middle school students who served as a comparison group, to determine if changes in gist reasoning and fact recall were demonstrated without cognitive training. The results showed that, in general, cognitive training increased gist reasoning and fact recall abilities in students from families in poverty as well as students from families living above poverty. However, the magnitude of gains in gist reasoning varied as a function of gender and grade level. Our primary findings were that seventh and eighth grade girls and eighth grade boys showed significant increases in gist reasoning after training regardless of socioeconomic status (SES). There were no significant increases in gist reasoning or fact recall ability for the 357 middle school students who served as a comparison group. We postulate that cognitive training in middle school is efficacious for improving gist reasoning ability and fact recall in students from all socioeconomic levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number924
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Volume8
Issue numberNOV
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

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Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Cognitive training
  • Gist reasoning
  • Higher-order cognition
  • Inferential abilities
  • Middle school
  • Poverty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neurology
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

Cite this

Gamino, J. F., Motes, M. M., Riddle, R., Reid Lyon, G., Spence, J. S., & Chapman, S. B. (2014). Enhancing inferential abilities in adolescence: New hope for students in poverty. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8(NOV), [924]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00924