Why memory fails: Understanding the reasons for low working memory capacity in typically developing children and adults

Institution: Cambridge University, MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit

Investigator(s): Dr. Duncan Astle, Dr. Gaia Scerif, Professor Kia Nobre

Program: Cogmed RM

Background & Aim: Recent neurocognitive studies with adult populations have shown that the extent to which individuals can control what gains access to visual storage is a principal determinant of their visual working memory (WM) capacity. These findings suggest that poor capacity per se is not the problem. Instead, a relative inability to use attention to select the items that should be stored, relative to those that should be ignored, underpins poor visual WM. The primary aim of this project is to investigate the efficacy of Cogmed RM in improving WM and selective attention in order to learn why WM is limited and why WM training is effective.

Population & Sample Size: N = 40 typical college aged adults & N = 40 children (120 children screened for low WM, 40 lowest scorers randomized)

Design: Randomized, Placebo Controlled, Test-retest, 6 month follow-up