Working memory training in healthy young adults: Support for the null from a randomized comparison to active and passive control groups
by Cameron M. Clark, Linette Lawlor-Savage, Vina M. GoghariTraining of working memory as a method of increasing working memory capacity and fluid intelligence has received much attention in recent years. This burgeoning field remains highly controversial with empirically-backed disagreements at all levels of evidence, including individual studies, systematic reviews, and even meta-analyses. The current study investigated the effect of a randomized six week online working memory intervention on untrained cognitive abilities in a community-recruited sample of healthy young adults, in relation to both a processing speed training active control condition, as well as a no-contact control condition. Results of traditional null hypothesis significance testing, as well as Bayesian factor analyses, revealed support for the null hypothesis across all cognitive tests administered before and after training. Importantly, all three groups were similar at pre-training for a variety of individual variables purported to moderate transfer of training to fluid intelligence, including personality traits, motivation to train, and expectations of cognitive improvement from training. Because these results are consistent with experimental trials of equal or greater methodological rigor, we suggest that future research re-focus on: 1) other promising interventions known to increase memory performance in healthy young adults, and; 2) examining sub-populations or alternative populations in which working memory training may be efficacious.
Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article
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