Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Working memory is key to early academic achievement

Date:
July 8, 2014
Source:
Université du Luxembourg
Summary:
Working memory in children is linked strongly to reading and academic achievement, a new study has shown. Moreover, this finding holds true regardless of socio-economic status. This suggests that children with learning difficulties might benefit from teaching methods that prevent working memory overload.

Working memory in children is linked strongly to reading and academic achievement, a new study from the University of Luxembourg and partner Universities from Brazil* has shown. Moreover, this finding holds true regardless of socio-economic status. This suggests that children with learning difficulties might benefit from teaching methods that prevent working memory overload.

The study was published recently in the scientific journal Frontiers in Psychology.

The study was conducted in Brazil on 106 children between 6 and 8 from a range of social backgrounds, with half living under the official poverty line. Similar studies have been conducted in the English-speaking world, so it was interesting to see that the results were similar in this highly-unequal, Portuguese-speaking society.

The study sought to identify the cognitive skills underpinning learning success. Children were tested for IQ and so-called "executive functions," a set of cognitive processes that we use to control our thoughts and actions, including how we remember information, control our emotions, pay attention and shift between thoughts. These results were compared to attainment in reading, spelling, mathematics, language and science. The results show that a child's working memory skills -- their ability to hold and work with information in mind -- predicted success in all aspects of learning, regardless of IQ. Moreover, most children identified by their teachers as "poor readers" struggle with their working memory.

"Our findings suggest the importance of early screening and intervention, especially in the context of poverty. At present, poor working memory is rarely identified by teachers," said project leader Dr. Pascale Engel de Abreu, Associate Professor at the University of Luxembourg "Poor literacy, low academic achievement and living in poverty create a mutually reinforcing cycle. There is a chance to break this by early identification of children with working memory problems and by helping them to acquire the mental tools which will enable them to learn," she added.

* Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBA), Universidade Federal de Săo Paulo (UNIFESP), Universidade de Săo Paulo (USP)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Université du Luxembourg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Pascale M. J. Engel de Abreu, Neander Abreu, Carolina C. Nikaedo, Marina L. Puglisi, Carlos J. Tourinho, Mônica C. Miranda, Debora M. Befi-Lopes, Orlando F. A. Bueno, Romain Martin. Executive functioning and reading achievement in school: a study of Brazilian children assessed by their teachers as “poor readers”. Frontiers in Psychology, 2014; 5 DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00550

Cite This Page:

Université du Luxembourg. "Working memory is key to early academic achievement." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140708092142.htm>.
Université du Luxembourg. (2014, July 8). Working memory is key to early academic achievement. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140708092142.htm
Université du Luxembourg. "Working memory is key to early academic achievement." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140708092142.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) — Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) — A new study suggests that mixing alcohol with energy drinks makes you want to keep the party going. Video provided by Newsy
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