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On the impacts of working memory training on executive functioning.

Salminen T, Strobach T, Schubert T - Front Hum Neurosci (2012)

Bottom Line: In spite of the emergence of several successful training paradigms, the scope of transfer effects has remained mixed.As for the other executive functions, trained participants improved in a task switching situation and in attentional processing.These results, therefore, confirm previous findings that WM can be trained, and additionally, they show that the training effects can generalize to various other tasks tapping on executive functions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Recent studies have reported improvements in a variety of cognitive functions following sole working memory (WM) training. In spite of the emergence of several successful training paradigms, the scope of transfer effects has remained mixed. This is most likely due to the heterogeneity of cognitive functions that have been measured and tasks that have been applied. In the present study, we approached this issue systematically by investigating transfer effects from WM training to different aspects of executive functioning. Our training task was a demanding WM task that requires simultaneous performance of a visual and an auditory n-back task, while the transfer tasks tapped WM updating, coordination of the performance of multiple simultaneous tasks (i.e., dual-tasks) and sequential tasks (i.e., task switching), and the temporal distribution of attentional processing. Additionally, we examined whether WM training improves reasoning abilities; a hypothesis that has so far gained mixed support. Following training, participants showed improvements in the trained task as well as in the transfer WM updating task. As for the other executive functions, trained participants improved in a task switching situation and in attentional processing. There was no transfer to the dual-task situation or to reasoning skills. These results, therefore, confirm previous findings that WM can be trained, and additionally, they show that the training effects can generalize to various other tasks tapping on executive functions.

No MeSH data available.


Proportion of correctly reported T2/T1 for both lags in pre-test and in post-test for the training group and the control group. Error bars indicate standard errors of the mean.
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Figure 5: Proportion of correctly reported T2/T1 for both lags in pre-test and in post-test for the training group and the control group. Error bars indicate standard errors of the mean.

Mentions: The means were calculated using only trials in which T1 was identified correctly. Significant main effects of Session [F(1, 36) = 20.76, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.37] and Lag [F(1, 36) = 70.93, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.66] revealed that the participants identified T2 better in post-test (M = 58.03%) than in pre-test (M = 50.03%) as well as in the long lag (M = 60.73%) than in the short lag (M = 47.33%). The Group × Session interaction was significant, as well [F(1, 36) = 6.14, p < 0.05, η2p = 0.15]. Follow-up analyses confirmed that the training group improved significantly in T2 identification from pre-test (M = 51.60%) to post-test (M = 63.73%) [t(19) = −5.04, p < 0.001), while the control group performed equally well in both sessions (p = 0.16). Other main effects or interactions were not significant (all p's > 0.07). Since the group differences were not affected by Lag, it indicates that the improvement of the training group from pre-test to post-test was similar in both the long and the short lag (Figure 5). This suggests that the training group showed improvements in the identification of T2 across both lags.


On the impacts of working memory training on executive functioning.

Salminen T, Strobach T, Schubert T - Front Hum Neurosci (2012)

Proportion of correctly reported T2/T1 for both lags in pre-test and in post-test for the training group and the control group. Error bars indicate standard errors of the mean.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3368385&req=5

Figure 5: Proportion of correctly reported T2/T1 for both lags in pre-test and in post-test for the training group and the control group. Error bars indicate standard errors of the mean.
Mentions: The means were calculated using only trials in which T1 was identified correctly. Significant main effects of Session [F(1, 36) = 20.76, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.37] and Lag [F(1, 36) = 70.93, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.66] revealed that the participants identified T2 better in post-test (M = 58.03%) than in pre-test (M = 50.03%) as well as in the long lag (M = 60.73%) than in the short lag (M = 47.33%). The Group × Session interaction was significant, as well [F(1, 36) = 6.14, p < 0.05, η2p = 0.15]. Follow-up analyses confirmed that the training group improved significantly in T2 identification from pre-test (M = 51.60%) to post-test (M = 63.73%) [t(19) = −5.04, p < 0.001), while the control group performed equally well in both sessions (p = 0.16). Other main effects or interactions were not significant (all p's > 0.07). Since the group differences were not affected by Lag, it indicates that the improvement of the training group from pre-test to post-test was similar in both the long and the short lag (Figure 5). This suggests that the training group showed improvements in the identification of T2 across both lags.

Bottom Line: In spite of the emergence of several successful training paradigms, the scope of transfer effects has remained mixed.As for the other executive functions, trained participants improved in a task switching situation and in attentional processing.These results, therefore, confirm previous findings that WM can be trained, and additionally, they show that the training effects can generalize to various other tasks tapping on executive functions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Recent studies have reported improvements in a variety of cognitive functions following sole working memory (WM) training. In spite of the emergence of several successful training paradigms, the scope of transfer effects has remained mixed. This is most likely due to the heterogeneity of cognitive functions that have been measured and tasks that have been applied. In the present study, we approached this issue systematically by investigating transfer effects from WM training to different aspects of executive functioning. Our training task was a demanding WM task that requires simultaneous performance of a visual and an auditory n-back task, while the transfer tasks tapped WM updating, coordination of the performance of multiple simultaneous tasks (i.e., dual-tasks) and sequential tasks (i.e., task switching), and the temporal distribution of attentional processing. Additionally, we examined whether WM training improves reasoning abilities; a hypothesis that has so far gained mixed support. Following training, participants showed improvements in the trained task as well as in the transfer WM updating task. As for the other executive functions, trained participants improved in a task switching situation and in attentional processing. There was no transfer to the dual-task situation or to reasoning skills. These results, therefore, confirm previous findings that WM can be trained, and additionally, they show that the training effects can generalize to various other tasks tapping on executive functions.

No MeSH data available.