The purpose of this R13 conference grant application is to seek partial funding support for the annual meeting of the Entertainment Software and Cognitive Neurotherapeutics Society, ESCoNS, a non-profit organization. The ESCoNS meeting brings together cognitive scientists and interested academic and industry partners from the entertainment and interactive software field to initiate innovative collaborations to develop computerized cognitive training treatment tools for the neural system dysfunctions in aging, neurologic disorders, and psychiatric illness.
The purpose of this R13 conference grant application is to seek partial funding support for the annual meeting of the Entertainment Software and Cognitive Neurotherapeutics Society, ESCoNS, a non-profit organization. ESCoNS was founded and held its first highly successful meeting on September 19-20, 2011 at the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco, CA. It attracted 221 attendees: cognitive and clinical scientists, clinicians, officials from the National Institute of Health and the Department of Defense, leaders of the videogame industry and the scientific media. In 21 talks given by world-leading scientists, two panel discussions, and over 50 scientific poster presentations, the consensus emerged that we now have the knowledge base to combine the neuroscience of brain plasticity and cognitive training with entertainment and interactive software technology to target brain dysfunction in a number of human illnesses, creating an innovative field of 'cognitive neurotherapeutics.' The purpose of ESCoNS 2 (and of ongoing ESCoNS meetings) is to leverage the expertise of scientific and software specialists for the design of these new approaches to cognitive training, as well as to surmount barriers in collaborative efforts and intervention implementation. Specific Aim 1: Speakers from the scientific community will address emerging knowledge on mechanisms of experience-dependent neuroplasticity and its alterations in neuropsychiatric disease, neurodegenerative disease, and normal aging; specialists in interactive and entertainment software from both academia and industry will share their knowledge of their craft and its potential applications to address impaired neural system functioning. The overall objective is to create a powerful and highly productive two-way communication between these groups - experts who do not normally have a venue for professional interaction. Specific Aim 2: As a secondary aim, the ESCoNS Organizing Committee will make a targeted effort to include women and underrepresented minorities in this emerging collaboration, through widespread invitations to junior participants and attendees, including undergraduate and graduate students who will be the next generation to carry this field forward.