Journal of Cognitive Enhancement

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 405–415 | Cite as

Is Cognitive Training Worth It? Exploring Individuals’ Willingness to Engage in Cognitive Training

  • Erin R. Harrell
  • Brandon Kmetz
  • Walter R. BootEmail author
Original Research


We assessed how much time individuals would be willing to spend engaging in game-based cognitive training to gain prolonged functional independence. In study 1 (N = 294), participants completed a survey with questions assessing how much time they would be willing to invest in daily cognitive training to extend their functional independence by certain amounts of time using a slider response that ranged from 0 to 100 min. Participants also completed surveys that measured self-perceived health and cognitive functioning, personality, and other demographic variables. Even for relatively small gains, participants reported being willing to dedicate an average of 11 min every day to cognitive training, with some participants willing to engage for significantly longer. The best predictor of willingness to invest time in training was belief in cognitive training efficacy, followed by openness to experience, and participants’ self-perceived cognitive deficit. Study 2 examined the same question in a sample of 120 older adults, this time allowing for open-ended responses. Participants reported being willing to invest significantly more time, ranging from more than 40 min every day to gain just 1 week of independence, to over 2.5 h every day to gain an additional 3 years of independence. Again, perception of cognitive training efficacy was the strongest predictor of willingness to invest time. Results confirm that older adults are willing to invest significant amounts of time to gain independence later in life and have implications for predicting the adoption of, and adherence to, potentially effective treatments for cognitive decline.


Cognitive training Games Adherence Temporal discounting 


Funding Information

This study was financially supported by the National Institute on Aging, Project CREATE IV – Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Enhancement (, NIA P01 AG017211). This research was also partially funded by the Bess H. Ward Honors Thesis Award and the HSA Conference Presenter Award from Florida State University.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erin R. Harrell
    • 1
  • Brandon Kmetz
    • 1
  • Walter R. Boot
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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