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Working Memory Training

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Abstract

Working memory (WM) is a limited capacity system which is responsible for simultaneously maintaining and processing information. Reliable individual differences in this capacity place limiting constraints for performing other cognitive activities. Thus, WM training might even benefit a wide range of cognitive functions. This prospect makes WM training very prominent and also controversial. In the present chapter, we briefly illustrated common training regimes and reviewed the empirical evidence for training effects on the trained WM tasks, near transfer to nontrained WM tasks, and far transfer to different cognitive functions. Consistent evidence across different age groups from all over the lifespan and across several meta-analyses speaks in favor of significant average training effects and significant near transfer to nontrained WM tasks. However, evidence for far transfer to, for example, fluid intelligence, executive functions, and academic achievement, is mixed. We reviewed current topics of discussion in the field and concluded that a greater focus on variables possibly moderating transfer effects (e.g., individual differences and situational characteristics during training) is necessary to better understand conflicting findings. More research on far transfer effects is needed because even small effects could actually make a difference relevant to everyday life.

Keywords

  • Cognitive training
  • Working memory
  • Updating
  • Transfer
  • Fluid intelligence
  • Daily life

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Correspondence to Tanja Könen .

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Könen, T., Strobach, T., Karbach, J. (2021). Working Memory Training. In: Strobach, T., Karbach, J. (eds) Cognitive Training. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-39292-5_11

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