The relationship between cognitive engagement and better memory in midlife

May 20, 2022

Authors: Lisa Bransby, Rachel F Buckley, Emily Rosenich, Katherine H Franks, Nawaf Yassi, Paul Maruff, Matthew P Pase, Yen Ying Lim

Journal: Alzheimer's & Dementia : Diagnosis Assessment & Disease Monitoring

DOI: 10.1002/dad2.12278

Year Published: 2022


Engagement in cognitively stimulating work and activities may slow cognitive decline and dementia. We examined the individual and combined associations of four cognitive engagement indices (educational attainment, occupational complexity, social engagement, and cognitively stimulating leisure activities) with objective and subjective cognition.


Middle-aged adults (n = 1864) enrolled in the Healthy Brain Project completed the Cogstate Brief Battery, the Cognitive Function Instrument, and self-report questionnaires of cognitive engagement.


Educational attainment and leisure activity engagement were individually associated with memory performance. Participants were classified based on whether they rated highly in zero to four cognitive engagement indices. Compared to participants with no indices, participants with two or more indices performed moderately better on memory.


Results suggest that greater variety of cognitive engagement across different areas of life is related to better memory in midlife. Possible explanation for this relationship may be increased opportunity for enhancing cognitive reserve, but further investigations are required.

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