Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Cogmed Working Memory Training?
Cogmed Working Memory Training is an evidence-based, computerized training program designed by leading neuroscientists to improve attention by effectively increasing working memory capacity over a 5 week training period.
2. Who is Cogmed training for?
Cogmed training is for people who wish to improve their ability to concentrate and are constrained by their working memory. Cogmed users range from young children to senior adults. Some have diagnosed attention deficits, some have suffered a brain injury, some feel the deteriorating effects of normal aging, and others find they’re not doing as well as they could, academically or professionally, given their intelligence and their efforts.
3. What is working memory and why is it important?
Working memory is an essential cognitive function necessary for a wide-range of tasks related to attention and focus. It is the ability to keep information in your mind for several seconds, manipulate it, and use it in your thinking. It is central to concentration, problem solving, and impulse control. Poor working memory is the source of many problems related to attention and is often linked to ADHD, and other learning disabilities. It is also shown to be a significant deficit following traumatic brain injury.
4. Do the results last?
Yes, our research and our clinical experience show that the effects of Cogmed training last. The reason is that once working memory capacity increases, you naturally continue to use it at its new level, which serves as constant maintenance training. Each Cogmed user also has access to optional Cogmed Extension Training included with the package.
5. Who provides this program
We team up with healthcare professionals in many different settings to provide Cogmed training. For those who resell the program to their clients, we charge a set amount per client they have, and they then set the price to the end user. For larger institutions who are not providing Cogmed fee for service, we sell a site-license where the institutions pays upfront for a set amount of Cogmed usage at a reduced price. The packages range from small to large. In all cases, we require there to be a licensed psychologist or medical doctor that can serve as the head of the administration of Cogmed – and all who are involved in the implementation of Cogmed must attend our one day professional training.
6. What is the difference between the QA and a coach?
We require every practice that provides Cogmed to have a licensed psychologist or medical doctor that serves as the head of the administration for Cogmed from that practice (the Quality Assurance Person, or QA). This person does not necessarily have to be involved in any amount of the implementation of Cogmed, but they are the main representative for the arrangement between Cogmed in the practice, and are responsible for the quality of the administration. In most cases the QA is either heavily involved in the entire implementation of the Cogmed program (we have many solo-practitioners who provide Cogmed alone), or at least generally involved in the pre and post assessments, while tracking of the coach’s activity.
A coach is anyone who is not the QA and is involved in any amount of the implementation of Cogmed. We do not have set requirements for who can be a coach. The coach can have the same qualifications and play the same role as the QA, or they can have other qualifications and only involved in one aspect of the implementation of Cogmed. In most cases, the coach is focused on the day to day monitoring and weekly follow up of each client.
7. Who has to go through the professional training and what is the format?
Everyone involved with the implementation of Cogmed needs to complete the Cogmed Professional Training. The training is done via an online, self-guided platform that you do on your own time.
8. Where do our clients do the training?
Clients can either train at home, or at your site. Each user is assigned a unique username and password that will track them on any computer that has the Cogmed program. Many clients train at home and the coaches monitor their statistics online providing weekly feedback over the phone. The program is designed so you can configure the training to fit your mode of implementation.
9. How do we monitor their progress for coaching?
Essential to the support is the Cogmed Training Web, which allows the coach to follow each user’s progress in detail over the internet. You can see a quick overview of each day’s training, and drill down task by task and click by click to see how many they are getting right and how much time they are spending. We track their improvement of their performance in each task, and an index of their performance on the whole. The Training Web is also where you generate new user IDs and delegate user to different coaches.
10. How much of my time does each client take?
Normally each client is about 6-7 hours of total work on the part of the practitioner. This includes an intake to identify suitable users, a start-up session to set up all the practicalities, monitoring and weekly follow ups throughout the five weeks of training (at least once a week over the phone and could be more depending on the client – check in the Cogmed training web 2-3 times per week to make sure things are going well), and a wrap-up session with post-assessment to measure improvements.
11. What data does Cogmed collect?
All users are anonymous to Cogmed. We know only their generic username, age, and gender, and we gather only data on their performance in the Cogmed program itself.
12. What assessments are best to use for pre-post training?
We leave it up to each Cogmed provider to determine which assessment they will use for screening, and for pre-post measures. Some that are most often used are are WMS, CMS, WISC-IV, WAIS-IV, DAS II, NEPSY, etc.
13. Does insurance cover Cogmed training?
Cogmed training is not typically covered by insurance. However, you are free to investigate for yourself if you are able to get part or all of the cost of Cogmed covered.
14. What kind of research is behind Cogmed?
Cogmed is developed by leading neuroscientists and based on the breakthrough concept that the working memory can be improved through intensive, systematic training. Cogmed is dedicated to providing only products that are proven to be effective in rigorous research. There have been numerous studies that show Cogmed to be effective and apply the golden standard of clinical research: double-blind placebo-controlled designs. Several of the studies have been published in leading, peer-reviewed scientific journals. The work has been done by Cogmed’s founders and by independent teams at leading American and European universities. No other brain training product or attention training method can show this degree of research validation.
15. Is Cogmed training a substitute for medication?
No, it is not. In the case of users on ADHD medication, Cogmed training is a complementary intervention. Stimulant medication and Cogmed training impact the brain in different ways. Medications will have effects that Cogmed training does not, particularly regarding hyperactivity. Cogmed training will also, in many cases, have effects that cannot be achieved by medication only.
16. How is Cogmed different from other types of “brain training”?
Cogmed is different from “brain training programs” in three ways:
1. Cogmed training is backed by solid research that no one else can match.
2. Cogmed training is provided exclusively by a network of carefully trained and qualified professionals. They make sure each Cogmed user gets the coaching needed for the best possible results.
3. An outstanding track record of strong and lasting effects in our thousands of users in America and around the world show that Cogmed training makes a real difference in people’s lives.
In short: research, coaching, and results. Obviously, the results are what really matter.