Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Memory training unlikely to help in treating ADHD, boosting IQ

Date:
May 31, 2012
Source:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Summary:
Working memory training is unlikely to be an effective treatment for children suffering from disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity or dyslexia, according to a research analysis. In addition, memory training tasks appear to have limited effect on healthy adults and children looking to do better in school or improve their cognitive skills.

Working memory training is unlikely to be an effective treatment for children suffering from disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity or dyslexia, according to a research analysis published by the American Psychological Association. In addition, memory training tasks appear to have limited effect on healthy adults and children looking to do better in school or improve their cognitive skills.

"The success of working memory training programs is often based on the idea that you can train your brain to perform better, using repetitive memory trials, much like lifting weights builds muscle mass," said the study's lead author, Monica Melby-Lervåg, PhD, of the University of Oslo. "However, this analysis shows that simply loading up the brain with training exercises will not lead to better performance outside of the tasks presented within these tests." The article was published online in Developmental Psychology.

Working memory enables people to complete tasks at hand by allowing the brain to retain pertinent information temporarily. Working memory enhancing tasks usually involve trying to get people to remember information presented to them while they are performing distracting activities. For example, participants may be presented with a series of numbers one at a time on a computer screen. The computer presents a new digit and then prompts participants to recall the number immediately preceding. More difficult versions might ask participants to recall what number appeared two, three or four digits ago.

In this meta-analysis, researchers from the University of Oslo and University College London examined 23 peer-reviewed studies with 30 different comparisons of groups that met their criteria. The studies were randomized controlled trials or experiments, had some sort of working memory treatment and a control group. The studies comprised a wide range of participants, including young children, children with cognitive impairments, such as ADHD, and healthy adults. Most of the studies had been published within the last 10 years.

Overall, working memory training improved performance on tasks related to the training itself but did not have an impact on more general cognitive performance such as verbal skills, attention, reading or arithmetic. "In other words, the training may help you improve your short-term memory when it's related to the task implemented in training but it won't improve reading difficulties or help you pay more attention in school," said Melby-Lervåg.

In recent years, several commercial, computer-based working memory training programs have been developed and purport to benefit students suffering from ADHD, dyslexia, language disorders, poor academic performance or other issues. Some even claim to boost people's IQs. These programs are widely used around the world in schools and clinics, and most involve tasks in which participants are given many memory tests that are designed to be challenging, the study said.

"In the light of such evidence, it seems very difficult to justify the use of working memory training programs in relation to the treatment of reading and language disorders," said Melby-Lervåg. "Our findings also cast strong doubt on claims that working memory training is effective in improving cognitive ability and scholastic attainment."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association (APA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Monica Melby-Lervåg, Charles Hulme. Is Working Memory Training Effective? A Meta-Analytic Review.. Developmental Psychology, 2012; DOI: 10.1037/a0028228

Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association (APA). "Memory training unlikely to help in treating ADHD, boosting IQ." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120531101706.htm>.
American Psychological Association (APA). (2012, May 31). Memory training unlikely to help in treating ADHD, boosting IQ. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120531101706.htm
American Psychological Association (APA). "Memory training unlikely to help in treating ADHD, boosting IQ." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120531101706.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) — In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins