Short-term intervention to enhance cognitive and affective functioning in older adults.


Noice, et. al

This study investigated the benefits that short-term theater can have on older adults’ cognitive functioning and psychological well-being. The participants, ages 60-86, engaged in one of three study conditions, theater arts, visual arts or no treatment. The theater course was designed for participants to experience the essence of acting. The visual arts course included speculating on the intention of the artist through examination of the work and interpreting highly ambiguous images. Word recall, listening span, problem-solving tasks and scales of self-esteem and psychological well-being were measured. After four weeks, those under theater training instruction made significantly larger gains in both cognitive and psychological well-being measures than the control. Visual arts training also showed benefits, but they were fewer than those in theater training.