Working Memory Training and Transfer: Theoretical and Practical Considerations
- Cite this paper as:
- Jaeggi S.M., Buschkuehl M. (2014) Working Memory Training and Transfer: Theoretical and Practical Considerations. In: Toni B. (eds) New Frontiers of Multidisciplinary Research in STEAM-H (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, Mathematics, and Health). Springer Proceedings in Mathematics & Statistics, vol 90. Springer, Cham
The study of transfer and brain plasticity is currently one of the hot topics in cognitive science. Transfer refers to performance improvements in tasks that were not part of an intervention. In this chapter, we will provide evidence for the efficacy of several working memory (WM) interventions developed in our laboratories and review the emerging literature from other groups. We will discuss data that demonstrate transfer to non-trained tasks throughout the lifespan, that is, in young adults, in older adults, in typically developing children, as well as children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). We will also briefly discuss the neural correlates that underlie improvements as a function of WM training. In addition to describing successful instances of transfer, we will also point out that transfer effects can be elusive, and that some of the effects do not seem to be easily replicated. We argue that instead of taking inconsistencies as a proof for a lack of efficacy, researchers need to develop innovative approaches to move the cognitive training literature beyond the simple question of whether or not training is effective, and to address questions of underlying mechanisms, individual differences, and training features and parameters that might mediate and moderate the efficacy of training.