The Effects of “Braingame Brian” on Executive Functions in Typically Developing Children

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The executive function training Braingame Brian (BGB) is a serious computer game which aims to improve executive function (EF) including working memory, inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility. Usually, it is deployed in children with cognitive control problems. Previous studies with children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) showed that BGB is effective in improving trained EFs and in reducing parent-rated EF problems. Although the stimulation of EFs could also be meaningful in typically developing children (TDC), BGB has not been evaluated in TDC so far. In the current study, BGB was administered to 25 TDC of a third-grade primary school class, mainly aiming to examine the effects of BGB on performance-based EFs and on observed EF problems in TDC. Moreover, this study intends to explore whether baseline EFs, observed EF problems and ADHD characteristics predict the effects of BGB on directly trained EF measures. Results showed significant effects of BGB on directly trained EF measures of inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility, an untrained inhibitory control measure, and teacher-rated EF problems. These findings suggest that BGB is effective in improving EF in TDC, particularly with respect to inhibitory control, which seems to generalise also to an untrained EF task. Nevertheless, no significant predictors were determined for these effects. Methodological issues and implications for further research were discussed.
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen