Contact Information:
Janelle Wohltmann
jjw@email.arizona.edu
520-621-5721
University of Arizona



Kredyty mieszkaniowe Kredyty mieszkaniowe

Sprawdź aktualny ranking najlepszych kredytów mieszkaniowych w Polsce - atrakcyjne kredytowanie nieruchomości.

PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
FREE PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION
RSS - Press News Release
Add Press Release

Should grandma join Facebook? It may give her a cognitive boost, study finds

Preliminary research findings suggest that learning to use Facebook may help give adults older than 65 a cognitive boost


2013-02-22
(Press-News.org) For older adults looking to sharpen their mental abilities, it might be time to log on to Facebook.

Preliminary research findings from the University of Arizona suggest that men and women older than 65 who learn to use Facebook could see a boost in cognitive function.

Janelle Wohltmann, a graduate student in the UA department of psychology, set out to see whether teaching older adults to use the popular social networking site could help improve their cognitive performance and make them feel more socially connected.

Her preliminary findings, which she shared this month at the International Neuropsychological Society Annual Meeting in Hawaii, show that older adults, after learning to use Facebook, performed about 25 percent better on tasks designed to measure their ability to continuously monitor and to quickly add or delete the contents of their working memory – a function known in the psychology world as "updating."

Wohltmann, whose research is ongoing as part of her dissertation work, facilitated Facebook training for 14 older adults who had either never used the site or used it less than once a month. They were instructed to become Facebook friends only with those in their training group and were asked to post on the site at least once a day.

A second group of 14 non-Facebook using seniors instead was taught to use an online diary site, Penzu.com, in which entries are kept private, with no social sharing component. They were asked to make at least one entry a day, of no more than three to five sentences to emulate the shortness of messages that Facebook users typically post.

The study's third group of 14 was told they were on a "wait-list" for Facebook training, which they never actually completed.

Prior to learning any new technologies, study participants, who ranged in age from 68 to 91, completed a series of questionnaires and neuropsychological tests measuring social variables, such as their levels loneliness and social support, as well as their cognitive abilities. The assessments were done again at the end of the study, eight weeks later.

In the follow-ups, those who had learned to use Facebook performed about 25 percent better than they did at the start of the study on tasks designed to measure their mental updating abilities. Participants in the other groups saw no significant change in performance.

Wohltmann conducted the study with help from her research adviser Betty Glisky, professor and head of the department of psychology, and a team of undergraduate and graduate research assistants. It was based on existing evidence about how learning new tasks can help older adults with overall cognitive function, as well as research suggesting a possible link between social connectedness and cognitive performance.

"The idea evolved from two bodies of research," she said. "One, there is evidence to suggest that staying more cognitively engaged – learning new skills, not just becoming a couch potato when you retire but staying active – leads to better cognitive performing. It's kind of this 'use it or lose it' hypothesis."

"There's also a large body of literature showing that people who are more socially engaged, are less lonely, have more social support and are more socially integrated are also doing better cognitively in older age," she said.

In Wohltmann's research, further analysis is needed to determine whether using Facebook made participants feel less lonely or more socially connected, she said.

Likewise, further analysis is needed to determine whether, or by how much, Facebook's social aspect contributed to improvements in cognitive performance. However, Wohltmann suspects that the complex nature of the Facebook interface, compared to the online diary site, was largely responsible for Facebook users' improved performance.

"The Facebook interface is actually quite complex. The big difference between the online diary and Facebook is that when you create a diary entry, you create the entry, you save it and that's all you see, versus if you're on Facebook, several people are posting new things, so new information is constantly getting posted," she said.

"You're seeing this new information coming in, and you need to focus on the new information and get rid of the old information, or keep it in mind if you want to go back and reference it later, so you have to constantly update what's there in your attention," she said.

Participants in the study, who had an average age of 79, represent a demographic whose social media behavior has not been closely examined.

"Facebook is obviously a huge phenomenon in our culture," Wohltmann said. "There's starting to be more research coming out about how younger adults use Facebook and online social networking, but we really don't know very much at all about older adults, and they actually are quite a large growing demographic on Facebook, so I think it's really important to do the research to find out."

One in three online seniors use a social networking site like Facebook, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Wohltmann says she also sees Facebook as a potential alternative to some online games marketed to seniors to help boost mental acuity.

"Those games can boring after a while, and this might be a new activity for people to learn that's more interesting and keeps them socially engaged," she said, adding that it can also help older adults stay connected with grandchildren and other family and friends.

Yet, Wohltmann cautions it may not be for everyone.

"One of the take-home messages could be that learning how to use Facebook is a way to build what we call cognitive reserve, to help protect against and stave off cognitive decline due to normal age-related changes in brain function. But there certainly are other ways to do this as well," she said.

"It's also important to understand and know about some of the aspects of Facebook that people have concerns about, like how to keep your profile secure," she said. "So I wouldn't suggest to anyone to get out and get Granny online right away, unless you or somebody else can provide the proper education and support to that person, so that they can use it in a safe way."

INFORMATION:

END


ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

Geoengineering by coalition

2013-02-22
Washington, D.C.—Solar geoengineering is a proposed approach to reduce the effects of climate change due to greenhouse gasses by deflecting some of the sun's incoming radiation. This type of proposed solution carries with it a number of uncertainties, however, including geopolitical questions about who would be in charge of the activity and its goals. New modeling work from Carnegie's Katharine Ricke and Ken Caldeira shows that if a powerful coalition ever decided to deploy a geoengineering system, they would have incentive to exclude other countries from participating ...

Brown University researchers build robotic bat wing

Brown University researchers build robotic bat wing
2013-02-22
VIDEO: The strong, flapping flight of bats offers great possibilities for the design of small aircraft, among other applications. By building a robotic bat wing, Brown researchers have uncovered flight secrets... Click here for more information. PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Researchers at Brown University have developed a robotic bat wing that is providing valuable new information about dynamics of flapping flight in real bats. The robot, which mimics the wing ...

Researchers 'nanoweld' by applying light to aligned nanorods in solid materials

Researchers nanoweld by applying light to aligned nanorods in solid materials
2013-02-22
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a way to melt or "weld" specific portions of polymers by embedding aligned nanoparticles within the materials. Their technique, which melts fibers along a chosen direction within a material, may lead to stronger, more resilient nanofibers and materials. Physicists Jason Bochinski and Laura Clarke, with materials scientist Joe Tracy, placed specifically aligned gold nanorods within a solid material. Gold nanorods absorb light at different wavelengths, depending upon the size and orientation of the nanorod, ...

Scientists make older adults less forgetful in memory tests

2013-02-22
Toronto, Canada – Scientists at Baycrest Health Sciences' Rotman Research Institute (RRI) and the University of Toronto's Psychology Department have found compelling evidence that older adults can eliminate forgetfulness and perform as well as younger adults on memory tests. Scientists used a distraction learning strategy to help older adults overcome age-related forgetting and boost their performance to that of younger adults. Distraction learning sounds like an oxymoron, but a growing body of science is showing that older brains are adept at processing irrelevant and ...

Immigration among Latin-American countries fails to improve income

2013-02-22
Although immigration to the United States from Latin American countries, particularly Mexico, has captured much public attention, immigrants who move between countries in Latin America have more difficulty than those moving to the United States. Donald Bogue, professor emeritus in sociology and a distinguished scholar of demography, has found that unlike immigrants to the United States, immigrants between nations in Latin America frequently do not improve their lives by moving. A popular theory on immigration contends that immigrants are self-selected achievers who ...

Why some soldiers develop PTSD while others don't

2013-02-22
Pre-war vulnerability is just as important as combat-related trauma in predicting whether veterans' symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will be long-lasting, according to new research published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Researcher Bruce Dohrenwend and colleagues at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health and the New York State Psychiatric Institute found that traumatic experiences during combat predicted the onset of the full complement of symptoms, known as the PTSD "syndrome," in Vietnam ...

Why sourdough bread resists mold

2013-02-22
Sourdough bread resists mold, unlike conventionally leavened bread. Now Michael Gaenzle and colleagues of the University of Alberta, Edmonton, show why. During sourdough production, bacteria convert the linoleic acid in bread flour to a compound that has powerful antifungal activity. The research, which could improve the taste of bread, is published online ahead of print in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The major benefits from the research are twofold: better tasting bread, says Gaenzle, because "preservatives can be eliminated from the recipes, ...

Student loans help women more than men in reaching graduation

2013-02-22
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Student loans provide more help to women than they do for men in encouraging graduation from college, a new nationwide study reveals. Findings showed that, on average, taking out loans actually makes graduation more likely for all students. But at a certain point – which is about $2,000 lower for men than for women – debt has diminishing returns and becomes less effective at boosting chances of graduation. One reason loans help women more may be tied to job prospects for college dropouts – which are much better for men than for women. "At least early ...

For embolism patients, clot-busting drug is worth risk

2013-02-22
EAST LANSING, Mich. --- When doctors encounter a patient with a massive pulmonary embolism, they face a difficult choice: Is it wise to administer a drug that could save the patient's life, even though many people suffer life-threatening bleeding as a result? Based on new findings published in the American Journal of Medicine, Michigan State University researchers are answering that question in no uncertain terms. "The message to doctors is clear: Take the chance," said Paul D. Stein, a professor in MSU's Department of Osteopathic Medical Specialties. "It doesn't matter ...

Smarter lunchrooms make lunch choices child's play

2013-02-22
Cincinnati, OH, February 22, 2013 -- In January 2012, the United States Department of Agriculture passed a series of regulations designed to make school lunches more nutritious, which included requiring schools to increase whole grain offerings and making students select either a fruit or vegetable with their purchased lunch. However, children cannot be forced to eat these healthier lunches. In a new study scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics, researchers determined that small, inexpensive changes to school cafeterias influenced the choice and consumption ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

How your brain decides blame and punishment -- and how it can be changed

Uniquely human brain region enables punishment decisions

Pinpointing punishment

Chapman University publishes research on attractiveness and mating

E-cigarettes: Special issue from Nicotine & Tobacco Research

Placental problems in early pregnancy associated with 5-fold increased risk of OB & fetal disorders

UT study: Invasive brood parasites a threat to native bird species

Criminals acquire guns through social connections

Restoring ocean health

Report: Cancer remains leading cause of death in US Hispanics

Twin study suggests genetic factors contribute to insomnia in adults

To be fragrant or not: Why do some male hairstreak butterflies lack scent organs?

International team discovers natural defense against HIV

Bolivian biodiversity observatory takes its first steps

Choice of college major influences lifetime earnings more than simply getting a degree

Dominant strain of drug-resistant MRSA decreases in hospitals, but persists in community

Synthetic biology needs robust safety mechanisms before real world application

US defense agencies increase investment in federal synthetic biology research

Robots help to map England's only deep-water Marine Conservation Zone

Mayo researchers identify protein -- may predict who will respond to PD-1 immunotherapy for melanoma

How much water do US fracking operations really use?

New approach to mammograms could improve reliability

The influence of citizen science grows despite some resistance

Unlocking secrets of how fossils form

What happens on the molecular level when smog gets into the lungs?

Using ultrasound to clean medical instruments

Platinum and iron oxide working together get the job done

Tiny silica particles could be used to repair damaged teeth, research shows

A quantum lab for everyone

No way? Charity's logo may influence perception of food in package

[Press-News.org] Should grandma join Facebook? It may give her a cognitive boost, study finds
Preliminary research findings suggest that learning to use Facebook may help give adults older than 65 a cognitive boost
Press-News.org is a service of DragonFly Company. All Rights Reserved.
Issuers of news releases are solely responsible for the accuracy of their content.