Improving Learning and Memory for Functional Activities for Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis
Funded by: National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Year funded: 2005
Yael Goverover, Ph.D., OT, Assistant Professor, NYU Department of Occupational Therapy
John DeLuca, Ph.D., ABPP, Director of Neuroscience Research, Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Corporation
Research has indicated that many individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience learning and memory difficulties, largely due to problems with initial acquisitions of information. With this grant from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the purpose of this research was to apply two strategies from cognitive psychology known to enhance new learning of functional tasks in persons with MS and in healthy controls (HCs). This research consisted of two experiments examining the "generation effect" (self-generated information) and the "spacing effect" (spaced presentation of information to individuals) in improving activities of daily living. Results from the separate experiments demonstrated that material learned under "generated" conditions and "spaced" learning trials were better recalled and performed than material learned under "provided" conditions or using "massed" learning trials, respectively in those with MS and in HCs. Thus, the data indicate that cognitive interventions that integrate techniques to improve new learning may enhance performance of activities of daily living for individuals with MS.