How Does Art Dealer Work?
Art Dealer is based on cognitive training principles that two published studies have shown to increase memory performance
in older adults (Jennings
& Jacoby, 2003; Jennings, Webster, Kleykamp, & Dagenbach, 2005). Both studies were successful in improving a high-level,
cognitively-controlled form of memory known in the literature as recollection. Unlike more automatic forms of
memory which tend to be vague, recollection allows you to remember the details of past events, details such as the location of
objects (where did I leave my glasses?) or the context surrounding a piece of information you've acquired
(who told me that?).
Art Dealer employs the same core training principles explored by Jennings and colleagues but includes a number of other features that were not part of their original research. In particular, whereas they used unrelated word lists as the focus of learning and memory, Art Dealer uses classic paintings, grouped by artist, that we believe are more likely to engage attention. Art Dealer also uses a different level-advancement scheme, includes artist biographies and an overarching goal (to create a world-class art gallery!), requires you to manage both your finances and a growing portfolio of paintings, and includes numerous interactions with an affable character (Simon Yates) who provides trial-by-trial and round-by-round feedback.
We are currently testing the cognitive benefits of Art Dealer. An initial, small-sample study with the game showed improvements in cognitive performance similar to those shown in published studies. We hope to replicate and extend those findings soon. Until then, enjoy the art.
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