San Francisco, Calif. - May 6, 2014 - Lumosity, a leading cognitive training and neuroscience research company, today awarded the first Human Cognition Grant, a research grant of $150,000 dedicated to advancing the understanding of neural bases of cognitive training, to Joseph Hopfinger Ph.D., Professor of Cognitive Psychology and Kathleen Gates, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Quantitative Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The grant will support research that investigates changes in brain connectivity from cognitive training through group and individual fMRI analyses.
"With recent advances in functional neuroimaging analysis methods, this is an exciting time to investigate changes in neural connectivity that may be associated with cognitive training," notes Professor Hopfinger. "In particular, Dr. Gates' new methods will allow us to examine changes at the individual and sub-group levels, as we seek to reveal whether the effects of cognitive training transfer to changes in task-independent brain networks."
The goal of the study is to identify functional changes in the healthy adult brain that result from cognitive training and that relate to improved cognitive performance. Researchers will compare connectivity changes between an experimental Lumosity training group and an active control group who will play online games not intended as cognitive training, for equivalent amounts of time. All participants will complete a battery of cognitive assessments and will participate in fMRI sessions, before and after training.
"We are excited to fund and support innovative research opportunities that will contribute to a deeper understanding of both behavioral and brain-based changes related to cognitive training," said Joe Hardy, Ph.D, VP of Research & Development at Lumosity. "We are committed to advancing neuroscience research that will lead to new discoveries, applications and technologies."
Using state-of-the-art fMRI analyses, the research will measure resting-state connectivity networks in the brain and task-evoked neural activity, before and after training. In addition, possible correlations between changes in brain measures and changes in performance on standard cognitive assessments will be investigated.
The Human Cognition Grant is an extension of Lumosity's research platform, the Human Cognition Project (HCP), which brings together researchers from around the world in an effort to better understand the workings of the human mind and brain. Current research projects on Lumosity include topics such as decision-making, multitasking, nutrition, TBI, cancer/chemofog, schizophrenia, stroke, MCI, emotion regulation, aging, ADHD, and PTSD.
Lumosity is a leading brain training and neuroscience research company with 60 million members, and paying subscribers from 180 countries. Founded in 2005 and launched in 2007, Lumosity offers more than 40 games that are designed to challenge core cognitive abilities. Lumosity's games are based on neuroscience, with continuing independent third-party studies being conducted by researchers at academic institutions around the world. Lumosity is headquartered in San Francisco, California. For more information, please visit www.lumosity.com.
Dr. Joseph Hopfinger
Dr. Hopfinger is a Professor of Psychology, within the Cognitive Psychology program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also a member of the Biomedical Research Imaging Center (BRIC) and the Neurobiology Curriculum at UNC. Dr. Hopfinger is an expert in the use of Cognitive Neuroscience methods (e.g., functional MRI and event-related brain potentials) to study the brain mechanisms of cognitive processes, including memory, language, and executive control. His major research focus involves elucidating the neural mechanisms of attention and distraction.
Dr. Kathleen Gates
Dr. Gates is an Assistant Professor of Psychology, within the Quantitative Psychology program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Gates develops, validates, and disseminates novel algorithms for use with psychophysiological data such as functional MRI. Her primary area of expertise lies in time series analysis and graph theory approaches.