December 24


Three ways to improve cognitive test scores without intervention

By Margaret

It’s unfortunate truth that when improvement in a medical situation is badly desired, improvements are so watched for that sometimes normal situations are viewed as progress. Because it’s so easy to skew what one sees studies have built in watch guards. By randomizing and controlling research the goal is to create data that is unimpaired by various factors, such as the placebo effect, spontaneous improvements and the type of progress that is generally no more than the positive impact of being under medical care. It is not only in the case of physical diseases that this problem arises. Cognitive impairments like autism fall prey to wishful thinking as well. It is important for parents of children with cognitive lacks to remember that test scores and such can improve for reasons that have nothing to do with the latest hyped protocol. For example, children do improve developmentally over time, even children with cognition deficits. Practice at virtually anything will eventually lead to some improvement. Unfortunately it doesn’t necessarily mean that a cure is in the works. There is also the factor of chance. Any test scores will be impacted by an array of factors that have nothing to do with actual knowledge. Statistically test-takers should regress towards their basic mean over time. But, there is wiggle room.

Key Takeaways:

  • Randomized controlled trials use a methodology to ensure the efficacy of the study, which can be tainted by such things as the placebo effect.
  • In medical studies there is always the need to control not only for the placebo effect, but for the improvement generated by being under medical care as well as other spontaneous improvements.
  • Change that is merely developmental can sometimes be misinterpreted as change due to specific regimes that may or may not work.

“Psychological or educational interventions have much in common with medical treatments, and the same randomised-controlled trial (RCT) methodology is needed to obtain convincing evidence of efficacy.”

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