The role of strategy use in working memory training outcomes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Researchers

  • Daniel Fellman
  • Jussi Jylkkä
  • Otto Waris
  • Anna Soveri
  • Liisa Ritakallio
  • Sarah Haga
  • Juha Salmitaival

  • Thomas J. Nyman
  • Matti Laine

Research units

  • Åbo Akademi University
  • Umeå University
  • University of Turku

Abstract

Cognitive mechanisms underlying the limited transfer effects of working memory (WM) training remain poorly understood. We tested in detail the Strategy Mediation hypothesis, according to which WM training generates task-specific strategies that facilitate performance on the trained task and its untrained variants. This large-scale pre-registered randomized controlled trial (n = 258) used a 4-week adaptive WM training with a single digit n-back task. Strategy use was probed with open-ended strategy reports. We employed a Strategy training group (n = 73) receiving external strategy instruction, a Traditional training group (n = 118) practicing without strategy instruction, and Passive controls (n = 67). Both training groups showed emerging transfer to untrained n-back task variants already at intermediate test after 3 training sessions, extending to all untrained n-back task variants at posttest after 12 training sessions. The Strategy training group outperformed the Traditional training group only at the beginning of training, indicating short-lived strategy manipulation effects. Importantly, in the Traditional training group, strategy evolvement modulated the gains in the trained and untrained n-back tasks, supporting the Strategy Mediation hypothesis. Our results concur with the view of WM training as cognitive skill learning.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number104064
JournalJOURNAL OF MEMORY AND LANGUAGE
Volume110
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Cognitive training, Skill learning, Strategy, Transfer, Working memory

ID: 39744900