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Is Working Memory Training Effective? A Meta-Analytic Review

Overview of attention for article published in Developmental Psychology, January 2013
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Among the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#21 of 4,556)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (98th percentile)

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Title
Is Working Memory Training Effective? A Meta-Analytic Review
Published in
Developmental Psychology, January 2013
DOI 10.1037/a0028228
Pubmed ID
Authors

Monica Melby-Lervåg, Charles Hulme

Abstract

It has been suggested that working memory training programs are effective both as treatments for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other cognitive disorders in children and as a tool to improve cognitive ability and scholastic attainment in typically developing children and adults. However, effects across studies appear to be variable, and a systematic meta-analytic review was undertaken. To be included in the review, studies had to be randomized controlled trials or quasi-experiments without randomization, have a treatment, and have either a treated group or an untreated control group. Twenty-three studies with 30 group comparisons met the criteria for inclusion. The studies included involved clinical samples and samples of typically developing children and adults. Meta-analyses indicated that the programs produced reliable short-term improvements in working memory skills. For verbal working memory, these near-transfer effects were not sustained at follow-up, whereas for visuospatial working memory, limited evidence suggested that such effects might be maintained. More importantly, there was no convincing evidence of the generalization of working memory training to other skills (nonverbal and verbal ability, inhibitory processes in attention, word decoding, and arithmetic). The authors conclude that memory training programs appear to produce short-term, specific training effects that do not generalize. Possible limitations of the review (including age differences in the samples and the variety of different clinical conditions included) are noted. However, current findings cast doubt on both the clinical relevance of working memory training programs and their utility as methods of enhancing cognitive functioning in typically developing children and healthy adults.

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X Demographics

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Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 2,283 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 31 1%
United Kingdom 12 <1%
Sweden 10 <1%
Netherlands 9 <1%
Germany 7 <1%
Switzerland 5 <1%
Iran, Islamic Republic of 4 <1%
Spain 4 <1%
Poland 4 <1%
Other 34 1%
Unknown 2163 95%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 431 19%
Student > Master 343 15%
Student > Bachelor 303 13%
Researcher 297 13%
Student > Doctoral Student 173 8%
Other 400 18%
Unknown 336 15%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Psychology 1140 50%
Social Sciences 176 8%
Neuroscience 136 6%
Medicine and Dentistry 96 4%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 53 2%
Other 251 11%
Unknown 431 19%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 387. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 09 May 2024.
All research outputs
#82,160
of 26,106,015 outputs
Outputs from Developmental Psychology
#21
of 4,556 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#427
of 293,191 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Developmental Psychology
#2
of 121 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 26,106,015 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 4,556 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 12.8. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 293,191 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 121 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 98% of its contemporaries.