Psychological Research

, Volume 78, Issue 6, pp 852–868 | Cite as

Working memory and executive functions: effects of training on academic achievement

  • Cora TitzEmail author
  • Julia Karbach


The aim of this review is to illustrate the role of working memory and executive functions for scholastic achievement as an introduction to the question of whether and how working memory and executive control training may improve academic abilities. The review of current research showed limited but converging evidence for positive effects of process-based complex working-memory training on academic abilities, particularly in the domain of reading. These benefits occurred in children suffering from cognitive and academic deficits as well as in healthy students. Transfer of training to mathematical abilities seemed to be very limited and to depend on the training regime and the characteristics of the study sample. A core issue in training research is whether high- or low-achieving children benefit more from cognitive training. Individual differences in terms of training-related benefits suggested that process-based working memory and executive control training often induced compensation effects with larger benefits in low performing individuals. Finally, we discuss the effects of process-based training in relation to other types of interventions aimed at improving academic achievement.


Phonological Awareness Work Memory Cognitive Training Fluid Intelligence Executive Function 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DIPF Educational Research and Educational InformationFrankfurt am MainGermany
  2. 2.Department of Educational ScienceSaarland UniversitySaarbrückenGermany

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