The effect of working memory capacity and training on intertemporal decision making in children from low-socioeconomic-status families
SourceJournal of Experimental Child Psychology, 216, (2022), article 105347
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC NRP
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
SubjectNeuropsychology and rehabilitation psychology; Neuro- en revalidatiepsychologie
Individuals differ in their tendency to discount delayed rewards. Low socioeconomic status (SES) has been found to be associated with strong delayed reward discounting (DRD), which in turn contributes to risky decision making and adverse behaviors. However, research on possible cognitive mediators of the negative association between SES and DRD, and on effects of cognitive training in low-SES adolescents, is largely lacking. In examining Chinese adolescents (aged 11-15 years; N = 207), Study 1 assessed which aspect of working memory (WM) - simple maintenance, simple manipulation, or updating - serves as mediator, which proved to be WM updating. Based on this outcome, in Study 2 Chinese adolescents (aged 12-14 years; N = 73) with low family SES were assigned to a WM updating training condition or a control condition. All participants performed DRD and WM tasks before and after treatment. The trained adolescents showed positive training effects on DRD, and this effect was specifically correlated with beneficial training effects on performance on a WM updating transfer task. These results support the role of WM updating in DRD and might inform training programs to promote more favorable decision making in low-SES adolescents.
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