Educational application of working-memory training

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This chapter reviews research on the efficacy of training working memory (WM) in an educational context. We have characterized WM training programs into two categories: Those that are narrow in scope and those that are broad in scope. Narrow-scope WM training programs are very similar to a working memory test, while broad-scope WM training programs train working memory in the context of broader abilities, such as executive function, attention, or learning skills. We discuss the efficacy of WM training with respect to transfer effects. Transfer effects can be classified as near transfer or far transfer. Near transfer refers to improvements that are similar to the training program, such as improvements in working memory tasks. Far transfer effects refer to improvements in skills related to the area of training, such as other executive function skills such as inhibition, updating, and planning, as well as attention and fluid intelligence (IQ). We also report whether transfer effects are short-lived or long lasting (maintenance effects). Finally, we review evidence of neural activity as a function of WM training and whether there is increased or decreased activity in regions associated with working memory capacity, namely, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the parietal cortex.

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Cognitive Training: An Overview of Features and Applications

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