Computer-assisted cognitive training can help patients affected by several illnesses alleviate their cognitive deficits or healthy people improve their mental performance. In most computer-based systems, training sessions consist of graded exercises, which should ideally be able to gradually improve the trainee’s cognitive functions. Indeed, adapting the difficulty of the exercises to how individuals perform in their execution is crucial to improve the effectiveness of cognitive training activities. In this article, we propose the use of reinforcement learning (RL) to learn how to automatically adapt the difficulty of computerized exercises for cognitive training. In our approach, trainees’ performance in performed exercises is used as a reward to learn a policy that changes over time the values of the parameters that determine exercise difficulty. We illustrate a method to be initially used to learn difficulty-variation policies tailored for specific categories of trainees, and then to refine these policies for single individuals. We present the results of two user studies that provide evidence for the effectiveness of our method: a first study, in which a student category policy obtained via RL was found to have better effects on the cognitive function than a standard baseline training that adopts a mechanism to vary the difficulty proposed by neuropsychologists, and a second study, demonstrating that adding an RL-based individual customization further improves the training process.

Adaptive Cognitive Training with Reinforcement Learning

Le Piane, Fabio;Gaspari, Mauro
2022

Abstract

Computer-assisted cognitive training can help patients affected by several illnesses alleviate their cognitive deficits or healthy people improve their mental performance. In most computer-based systems, training sessions consist of graded exercises, which should ideally be able to gradually improve the trainee’s cognitive functions. Indeed, adapting the difficulty of the exercises to how individuals perform in their execution is crucial to improve the effectiveness of cognitive training activities. In this article, we propose the use of reinforcement learning (RL) to learn how to automatically adapt the difficulty of computerized exercises for cognitive training. In our approach, trainees’ performance in performed exercises is used as a reward to learn a policy that changes over time the values of the parameters that determine exercise difficulty. We illustrate a method to be initially used to learn difficulty-variation policies tailored for specific categories of trainees, and then to refine these policies for single individuals. We present the results of two user studies that provide evidence for the effectiveness of our method: a first study, in which a student category policy obtained via RL was found to have better effects on the cognitive function than a standard baseline training that adopts a mechanism to vary the difficulty proposed by neuropsychologists, and a second study, demonstrating that adding an RL-based individual customization further improves the training process.
Zini, Floriano; Le Piane, Fabio; Gaspari, Mauro
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/877704
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