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Psychon Bull Rev. 2016 Feb;23(1):324-30. doi: 10.3758/s13423-015-0862-z.

There is no convincing evidence that working memory training is effective: A reply to Au et al. (2014) and Karbach and Verhaeghen (2014).

Author information

  • 1Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
  • 2Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway. c.hulme@ucl.ac.uk.
  • 3Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, Chandler House, 2 Wakefield St., London, WCIN 2PF, UK. c.hulme@ucl.ac.uk.

Abstract

The possible cognitive benefits of working memory training programs have been the subject of intense interest and controversy. Recently two meta-analyses have claimed that working memory training can be effective in enhancing cognitive skills in adulthood (Au et al. Behavioural Brain Research 228:(1) 107-115, 2014) and stemming cognitive decline in old age (Karbach & Verhaeghen Psychological Science 25:2027-2037, 2014). The current article critically evaluates these claims. We argue that these meta-analyses produce misleading results because of (1) biases in the studies included, (2) a failure to take account of baseline differences when calculating effect sizes, and (3) a failure to emphasize the difference between studies with treated versus untreated control groups. We present new meta-analyses and conclude that there is no convincing evidence that working memory training produces general cognitive benefits.

KEYWORDS:

Cognitive training; Working memory

PMID:
26082279
DOI:
10.3758/s13423-015-0862-z
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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