Adaptive training leads to sustained enhancement of poor working memory in children

Joni Holmes, Susan Gathercole, Darren Dunning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

691 Citations (Scopus)


Working memory plays a crucial role in supporting learning, with poor progress in reading and mathematics characterizing children with low memory skills. This study investigated whether these problems can be overcome by a training program designed to boost working memory. Children with low working memory skills were assessed on measures of working memory, IQ and academic attainment before and after training on either adaptive or non-adaptive versions of the program. Adaptive training that taxed working memory to its limits was associated with substantial and sustained gains in working memory, with age-appropriate levels achieved by the majority of children. Mathematical ability also improved significantly 6 months following adaptive training. These findings indicate that common impairments in working memory and associated learning difficulties may be overcome with this behavioral treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F9-F15
JournalDevelopmental Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


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