OBJECTIVES: Effects of two mentally stimulating art interventions on processing speed and visuo-spatial cognition were compared in three samples.
METHOD: In a randomized 10-week art intervention study with a pre-post follow-up design, 113 adults (27 healthy older adults with subjective memory complaints, 50 healthy older adults and 36 healthy younger adults) were randomly assigned to one of two groups: visual art production or cognitive art evaluation, where the participants either produced or evaluated art. ANOVAs with repeated measures were computed to observe effects on the Symbol-Digit Test, and the Stick Test.
RESULTS: Significant Time effects were found with regard to processing speed and visuo-spatial cognition. Additionally, there was found a significant Time × Sample interaction for processing speed. The effects proved robust after testing for education and adding sex as additional factor.
CONCLUSION: Mental stimulation by participation in art classes leads to an improvement of processing speed and visuo-spatial cognition. Further investigation is required to improve understanding of the potential impact of art intervention on cognitive abilities across adulthood.