Does timing of Cogmed training affect cognitive, academic, and behavioral outcomes in kindergartneners at risk for learning problems?

Institution: Loyola Marymount University

Investigator(s): Judith Foy, Ph.D., Virginia Mann, Ph.D.

Program: Cogmed RM

Background & Aim: Research consistently shows that academic achievement during the kindergarten year of elementary school is highly predictive of later academic performance. Furthermore, there is a large literature showing links between working memory (WM) and academic achievement and WM and behaviors linked to academic. Early interventions involving WM thus may be especially effective in preventing or alleviating later learning problems. Some researchers (Penner et al., 2012) have begun to look at factors that might maximize the training effects. For example, Penner and colleagues found that a distributed schedule of WM training led to increased performance compared to a high intensity training schedule in healthy adults. This pilot study suggests that the timing of the training might also be a factor.

In the current project, it is hypothesized that Cogmed training early in the kindergarten year will be more advantageous than training later in the year because the improvements in WM will enhance the children’s ability to profit from instruction. Given that executive function (e.g., Foy & Mann, 2012) and self-regulatory behaviors (St. Clair-Thompson, Stevens, Hunt, & Bolder, 2010) are also linked with WM, we expect these improvements to be apparent in cognitive, academic and behavioral outcome measurements.

Population & Sample Size: 50 kindergarten children, aged 4-6 years

Design: Randomized, Waitlist controlled (Cross Over Training), Double-blinded, Test-retest, 4 Month Follow Up