Interventions shown to aid executive function development in children 4 to 12 years old

Institution: The University of British Columbia

Title: Interventions shown to aid executive function development in children 4 to 12 years old

Researcher(s): Diamond, A. Lee, K.

Program: Cogmed RM

Published: Science, August 2011

Overview: In the August 2011 Special Section of Science, Cogmed was featured as the “most researched approach” for improving executive functions in school children 4 to 12 years of age. In evaluating Cogmed, as well as other approaches such as: combination computerized-non computerized training, aerobic exercise, martial arts/ mindfulness practice, classroom curricula and add-ons to classroom curricula, researchers came to some main conclusions specifically related to Cogmed:

a. Cogmed training improves working memory
b. Cogmed training has shown transfer to other executive functions but, this transfer is narrow
c. Children with the poorest executive functions benefit most from training programs
d. Executive function training has the potential to impact academic achievement in children
e. Adaptive training is necessary because executive functions must be continually challenged in order to improve
f. A key element to improving executive functions is the child’s motivation, that is, their willingness to devote time to the activity
g. One benefit of computerized training over other approaches is that it can be done at home

Importantly, this review of computerized training in Science parallels Cogmed’s standpoint that adaptive and supported computerized working memory training benefits individuals with working memory constraints, impacts executive functions and influences academic outcomes.

Further, a review of Cogmed in the journal Science and in the context of improving executive functions in school children represents a growing acceptance of Cogmed Working Memory Training within the scientific community.