Limited near and far transfer effects of jungle memory working memory training on learning mathematics in children with attentional and mathematical difficulties
SourceFrontiers in Psychology, 7, (2016), article 1384
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OLO
Frontiers in Psychology
SubjectLearning and Plasticity
The goal of this randomized controlled trial was to investigate whether Jungle Memory working memory training (JM) affects performance on working memory tasks, performance in mathematics and gains made on a mathematics training (MT) in school aged children between 9-12 years old (N = 64) with both difficulties in mathematics, as well as attention and working memory. Children were randomly assigned to three groups and were trained in two periods: (1) JM first, followed by MT, (2) MT first, followed by JM, and (3) a control group that received MT only. Bayesian analyses showed possible short term effects of JM on near transfer measures of verbal working memory, but none on visual working memory. Furthermore, support was found for the hypothesis that children that received JM first, performed better after MT than children who did not follow JM first or did not train with JM at all. However, these effects could be explained at least partly by frequency of training effects, possibly due to motivational issues, and training-specific factors. Furthermore, it remains unclear whether the effects found on improving mathematics were actually mediated by gains in working memory. It is argued that JM might not train the components of working memory involved in mathematics sufficiently. Another possible explanation can be found in the training's lack of adaptivity, therefore failing to provide the children with tailored instruction and feedback. Finally, it was hypothesized that, since effect sizes are generally small, training effects are bound to a critical period in development.
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