Training a new tool or skill is a powerful way to expand your knowledge, but it can also lead to serious cognitive impairment, new research shows.
The findings, published today in Nature Neuroscience, suggest that it’s important to understand how to make an effective, high-quality training video.
“When people learn new tasks, they have an expectation of how well they can do them, and we tend to be very skeptical about that,” says lead author James Luebke, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“This is one of the things we learn about in science, that if you expect to get better at something, you can.”
Luebbke and his colleagues spent six months with two subjects.
They took the subjects through an obstacle course that involved moving a set of cubes that varied in height and weight.
The test was then repeated to see how the subjects performed on a different task that involved seeing a video of an object moving through space.
The researchers found that participants who had been training on a video that had a similar visual tone to the one they had seen before failed to perform as well on the obstacle course task as the subjects who had trained on a visual tone.
The participants also had a significant lower level of performance on the cognitive task.
In the cognitive tasks, participants’ brain activity was measured by brain-imaging software and their performances were recorded.
“We found that the training videos that had the same tone, or the same visual tone, had a significantly greater impact on performance than the training with the tone or visual tone that had been trained before,” Lueibke says.
“The training videos had a much greater impact.”
Training video training, or VRT, is an increasingly popular method for training new skills, but this study suggests that you don’t necessarily need to have mastered the task before training the video.
Lueberke suggests that if your goal is to make a new skill or learning skill more effective, training video training can be a useful approach.
“There are a lot of videos out there that are just great,” Luesbke says, “but if you want to really do something with your mind, you have to take it a step further.”
The researchers also tested whether training video and visual tone training would work differently in different people.
In one of their experiments, the researchers trained two groups of adults to use a virtual reality headset that required the subjects to move objects by pressing a button.
After training, the subjects used a different VR headset and did the same task, but with the training video as the visual tone instead of the button press.
Luesbbke says the results showed that the VRT training could be effective for those with poorer spatial ability.
“You might be able to use the training to get them to use their brain to make more efficient movements, and that’s where VRT is helpful,” Luedebke says.
“Another study used the same approach but in the context of a conversation, where the participants watched a video to train their attention and to improve their verbal comprehension.
“I think the important takeaway is that it really depends on the individual. “
That suggests that VRT could help with some of the other cognitive problems that we’re seeing in people,” Luingbke notes.
“I think the important takeaway is that it really depends on the individual.
You might not be able or comfortable with training a new task, so you might want to train a training method that’s a bit more in your comfort zone.”
The findings are promising because they suggest that training video could be a very effective way to increase the effectiveness of cognitive training, Luebs says.
The training videos can also help people improve their communication skills.
It’s a great way to build a foundation for language learning.”