Does working memory training benefit every child?

Research institution: Northumbria University

Researchers: Joni Holmes, Darren Dunning, and Susan Gathercole

Training program used in research: Cogmed RM

Status: Ongoing

Aim
Researchers in the United Kingdom have recently shown that regular and sustained adaptive training in tasks that tax working memory enhances cognitive function in children with disorders of memory and attention. The aim of the current study was to investigate whether the training gains reported in these groups extend to a mixed ability group of children. A group of children ages 9- 10 years participated in the study. Half of the group completed assessments of working memory, IQ, selective attention and motivation before and after training on a computerized working memory training program for approximately six weeks. The remaining children formed a passive control group and completed the same assessments before and after six weeks of normal schooling. Preliminary analysis shows training was associated with significant gains on non-trained working memory tasks and a test of non-verbal reasoning. There was no significant impact of training on verbal IQ, motivation or selective attention. Performance did not improve for the passive control group.