Monday, February 23, 2009

Cogmed RoboMemory: Technology to Improve Working Memory; Play Attention to Improve Focus

Cogmed is a Swedish company that developed a computerized working memory training program. There are two versions of the application, one for children, and the other for adults. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has worked with children or teens with Cogmed computer applications.

Here is a recent article that demonstrates how using the Cogmed application can change brain chemistry:
Changes in Cortical Dopamine D1 Receptor Binding Associated with Cognitive Training (pdf) Fiona McNab, Andrea Varrone, Lars Farde, Aurelija Jucaite,Paulina Bystritsky, Hans Forssberg, Torkel Klingberg
Methods, Table S1, and References(pdf)


"Working memory is a key function for human cognition, dependent on adequate dopamine neurotransmission. Here we show that the training of working memory, which improves working memory capacity, is associated with changes in the density of cortical dopamine D1 receptors. Fourteen hours of training over 5 weeks was associated with changes in both prefrontal and parietal D1 binding potential. This plasticity of the dopamine D1 receptor system demonstrates a reciprocal interplay between mental activity and brain biochemistry in vivo."

Cogmed's Working Memory Guide

Photos from the Cogmed website.

Cogmed JM, for children ages 4-7

Cogmed RM for children and teens 7 and up

Cogmed QM for adults

It looks like this software would be good to consider for people who have working memory problems related to traumatic brain injuries, in addition to people who have ADD or ADHD and problems with executive functions.

Another computer-based application, reportedly been used in 450 schools, is Play Attention, by Unique Logic and Technology, and uses "Edufeedback", a technique that is similar to neurofeedback, to help people improve focus and attention.

Play Attention's ADHD Video Gallery

"Edufeedback allows Play Attention students to see attention in real-time by controlling video games by attention alone in order to build cognitive skills and shape behaviors. Edufeedback also allows students to see a direct correlation between attention and behavior; fidgeting makes the Play Attention games stop if attention wanes."

I would be interested in hearing from psychologists who use Cogmed or PlayAttention products. Is anyone using Cogmed or PlayAttention for RTI purposes?


Anonymous said...

After consulting with a distributor of the cogmed program where I live I paid to have my child do the series of exercises. It's beyond me to understand how it is helping him and everytime I ask the representative for help I get no response. I have never felt more ripped off for $1500 in my life. I feel like reporting this to consumer protection.

Anonymous said...

Got to agree -- Cogmed simply uses memory games. They rely on a lot of good marketing, but we haven't been impressed either.

Friends of ours use Play Attention at their school and their son is off his meds and doing well now. Anyone else here used Play Attention?

Unknown said...

reply to anonymous, from Cogmed: If that is how your experience with a Cogmed Qualified Practice was, you should contact us immediately. You should receive extensive support from your coach: that is what you pay for. If you did not get it: tell us. We review the quality of all coaches and practices in the network. You can report the practice and the coach directly to me at or call our office at (630) 428 8570. 80% of Cogmed users see substantial results (as in the published research) and 90% complete the training, thanks to the support from the coach. Again, do please contact us so that we can act on this. thank you, Jonas.