Vol. 15 nº 2 - Apr/May/Jun de 2021
Original Article Páginas: 256 a 266

Cognitive training using the abacus: a literature review study on the benefits for different age groups

Authors Thais Bento Lima-Silva1; Maurício Einstoss de Castro Barbosa2; Mariana Garcia Zumkeller2; Cássia Elisa Rosseto Verga2; Patrícia Lessa Prata1; Neide Pereira Cardoso3;Luiz Carlos de Moraes3; Sonia Maria Dozzi Brucki1


keywords: mental health, cognition, aging, working memory, spatial memory, executive function.

The literature indicates that cognitive stimulation interventions have shown promising results. Abacus represents a tool with great potential in such interventions.
OBJECTIVES: To carry out a systematic review of studies published in recent years that entailed the delivery of a cognitive training program using an abacus to boost target cognitive abilities of older persons and also other age groups, with or without cognitive impairment.
METHODS: A systematic review study was conducted in July 2020 involving PubMed, MedLine, LILACS, and SciELO databases.
RESULTS: A total of 29 studies were retrieved, of which 8 aimed to identify the effect of abacus-based mental calculation (AMC) for different age groups and to determine its applicability as a method of cognitive stimulation for older adults. In AMC technique, participants first learn to use the physical abacus (PA) and after achieving proficiency they perform calculations using a mental image of the device, manipulating the beads of the so-called mental abacus (MA).
CONCLUSIONS: The number of studies addressing abacus use as a cognitive training tool was rather limited, considering the relevance of the theme. Their interventions have shown benefits for cognitive functioning of individuals of various age groups, including older adults with cognitive impairment. Future studies that involve larger samples of healthy and/or cognitively impaired older adults with a longitudinal design and a more elaborate methodological design are suggested.


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