TitlePersonality Moderates Intervention Effects on Cognitive Function: A 6-Week Conversation-Based Intervention.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsCerino, ES, Hooker, K, Goodrich, E, Dodge, HH
Date Published2020 07 15
KeywordsActivities of Daily Living, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Cognition, Cognitive Dysfunction, Communication, Female, Humans, Male, Memory, Short-Term, Personality

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Social isolation is associated with a higher risk of dementia. We previously conducted and showed the efficacy of an intervention which uses conversation (the core component of social interactions) as a tool to enhance cognitive function. We now explore whether cognitive improvements through conversation-based intervention depend on an individual's personality.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We reexamined data from a 6-week randomized controlled trial (ClinicalTrials.gov Number: NCT01571427) to determine whether conversation-based intervention effects were moderated by personality traits in 83 older adults (mean age = 80.51 years, 49 cognitively intact, 34 individuals with mild cognitive impairment). The intervention group participated in daily 30-min face-to-face semi-structured conversations with trained interviewers through a web-enabled system for 6 weeks. At baseline, psychosocial questionnaires and a neuropsychological battery were completed.

RESULTS: Intervention group participants with high agreeableness, conscientiousness, and extraversion exhibited significant improvements in language-based executive function tasks beyond changes in the control group (ps < .05). An opposite pattern for delayed recall memory and working memory tasks emerged among highly extraverted participants (ps < .05).

DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS: Our exploratory findings suggest the adaptive role of personality traits in conversation-based cognitive interventions may be limited to tasks incorporating a language component, and offer initial evidence for personalized approaches to cognitive health in late life.

Alternate JournalGerontologist
PubMed ID31112605
PubMed Central IDPMC7362618
Grant ListP30 AG053760 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
P30 AG008017 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R01 AG056102 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R01 AG033581 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R01 AG051628 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
P30 AG066518 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States