Near- and Far-Transfer Effects of Working Memory Updating Training in Elderly Adults

Authors

  • Zhao Xin,

    1. Beijing Key Laboratory of Applied Experimental Psychology, School of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
    2. School of Psychology, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou, China
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  • Zhou-Ren Lai,

    Corresponding author
    1. Beijing Key Laboratory of Applied Experimental Psychology, School of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
    2. Center for Collaboration and Innovation in Brain and Learning Sciences, Beijing, China
    • Correspondence to: Zhou-Ren Lai, Beijing Key Laboratory of Applied Experimental Psychology, School of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China.

      E-mail: rlzhou@bnu.edu.cn

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  • Fu. Li,

    1. Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Centre for Cognition (DCC), Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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  • Joseph H. R. Maes

    1. Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Centre for Cognition (DCC), Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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Summary

Age-related declines in working memory, especially with regard to updating ability, affect many high-level aspects of cognition in elderly adults. Recent studies have demonstrated that training might improve working memory. We investigated the effects of 20 days of adaptive training of working memory updating in healthy elderly adults. Comparing the performance on cognitive function tests before and after training in a trained group and a non-trained group, significant positive training effects were observed in a numerical updating task and a digit-span test, but not in a non-verbal reasoning test. The results suggest beneficial effects of working memory updating training to working memory tasks that use different content material and task formats than those used during training. However, confirming the results of previous studies, transfer effects to other higher order cognitive processes seem to be absent in elderly adults. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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