Dual n-back training increases the capacity of the focus of attention

Lindsey Lilienthal, Elaine Tamez, Jill Talley Shelton, Joel Myerson, Sandra Hale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Working memory (WM) training has been reported to benefit abilities as diverse as fluid intelligence (Jaeggi et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105:6829-6833, 2008) and reading comprehension (Chein & Morrison, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 17:193-199, 2010), but transfer is not always observed (for reviews, see Morrison & Chein, Psychonomics Bulletin & Review, 18:46-60, 2011; Shipstead et al., Psychological Bulletin, 138:628-654, 2012). In contrast, recent WM training studies have consistently reported improvement on the trained tasks. The basis for these training benefits has received little attention, however, and it is not known which WM components and/or processes are being improved. Therefore, the goal of the present study was to investigate five possible mechanisms underlying the effects of adaptive dual n-back training on working memory (i. e., improvements in executive attention, updating, and focus switching, as well as increases in the capacity of the focus of attention and short-term memory). In addition to a no-contact control group, the present study also included an active control group whose members received nonadaptive training on the same task. All three groups showed significant improvements on the n-back task from pretest to posttest, but adaptive training produced larger improvements than did nonadaptive training, which in turn produced larger improvements than simply retesting. Adaptive, but not nonadaptive, training also resulted in improvements on an untrained running span task that measured the capacity of the focus of attention. No other differential improvements were observed, suggesting that increases in the capacity of the focus of attention underlie the benefits of adaptive dual n-back training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-141
Number of pages7
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 6 2013

Fingerprint

Short-Term Memory
Learning
Control Groups
Aptitude
Intelligence
Reading
Focus of Attention
Psychology
Working Memory

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Lilienthal, Lindsey ; Tamez, Elaine ; Shelton, Jill Talley ; Myerson, Joel ; Hale, Sandra. / Dual n-back training increases the capacity of the focus of attention. In: Psychonomic Bulletin and Review. 2013 ; Vol. 20, No. 1. pp. 135-141.
@article{7f2c1436f991484d90d99f86309d6e63,
title = "Dual n-back training increases the capacity of the focus of attention",
abstract = "Working memory (WM) training has been reported to benefit abilities as diverse as fluid intelligence (Jaeggi et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105:6829-6833, 2008) and reading comprehension (Chein & Morrison, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 17:193-199, 2010), but transfer is not always observed (for reviews, see Morrison & Chein, Psychonomics Bulletin & Review, 18:46-60, 2011; Shipstead et al., Psychological Bulletin, 138:628-654, 2012). In contrast, recent WM training studies have consistently reported improvement on the trained tasks. The basis for these training benefits has received little attention, however, and it is not known which WM components and/or processes are being improved. Therefore, the goal of the present study was to investigate five possible mechanisms underlying the effects of adaptive dual n-back training on working memory (i. e., improvements in executive attention, updating, and focus switching, as well as increases in the capacity of the focus of attention and short-term memory). In addition to a no-contact control group, the present study also included an active control group whose members received nonadaptive training on the same task. All three groups showed significant improvements on the n-back task from pretest to posttest, but adaptive training produced larger improvements than did nonadaptive training, which in turn produced larger improvements than simply retesting. Adaptive, but not nonadaptive, training also resulted in improvements on an untrained running span task that measured the capacity of the focus of attention. No other differential improvements were observed, suggesting that increases in the capacity of the focus of attention underlie the benefits of adaptive dual n-back training.",
author = "Lindsey Lilienthal and Elaine Tamez and Shelton, {Jill Talley} and Joel Myerson and Sandra Hale",
year = "2013",
month = "2",
day = "6",
doi = "10.3758/s13423-012-0335-6",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "20",
pages = "135--141",
journal = "Psychonomic Bulletin and Review",
issn = "1069-9384",
publisher = "Springer New York",
number = "1",

}

Dual n-back training increases the capacity of the focus of attention. / Lilienthal, Lindsey; Tamez, Elaine; Shelton, Jill Talley; Myerson, Joel; Hale, Sandra.

In: Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, Vol. 20, No. 1, 06.02.2013, p. 135-141.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Dual n-back training increases the capacity of the focus of attention

AU - Lilienthal, Lindsey

AU - Tamez, Elaine

AU - Shelton, Jill Talley

AU - Myerson, Joel

AU - Hale, Sandra

PY - 2013/2/6

Y1 - 2013/2/6

N2 - Working memory (WM) training has been reported to benefit abilities as diverse as fluid intelligence (Jaeggi et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105:6829-6833, 2008) and reading comprehension (Chein & Morrison, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 17:193-199, 2010), but transfer is not always observed (for reviews, see Morrison & Chein, Psychonomics Bulletin & Review, 18:46-60, 2011; Shipstead et al., Psychological Bulletin, 138:628-654, 2012). In contrast, recent WM training studies have consistently reported improvement on the trained tasks. The basis for these training benefits has received little attention, however, and it is not known which WM components and/or processes are being improved. Therefore, the goal of the present study was to investigate five possible mechanisms underlying the effects of adaptive dual n-back training on working memory (i. e., improvements in executive attention, updating, and focus switching, as well as increases in the capacity of the focus of attention and short-term memory). In addition to a no-contact control group, the present study also included an active control group whose members received nonadaptive training on the same task. All three groups showed significant improvements on the n-back task from pretest to posttest, but adaptive training produced larger improvements than did nonadaptive training, which in turn produced larger improvements than simply retesting. Adaptive, but not nonadaptive, training also resulted in improvements on an untrained running span task that measured the capacity of the focus of attention. No other differential improvements were observed, suggesting that increases in the capacity of the focus of attention underlie the benefits of adaptive dual n-back training.

AB - Working memory (WM) training has been reported to benefit abilities as diverse as fluid intelligence (Jaeggi et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105:6829-6833, 2008) and reading comprehension (Chein & Morrison, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 17:193-199, 2010), but transfer is not always observed (for reviews, see Morrison & Chein, Psychonomics Bulletin & Review, 18:46-60, 2011; Shipstead et al., Psychological Bulletin, 138:628-654, 2012). In contrast, recent WM training studies have consistently reported improvement on the trained tasks. The basis for these training benefits has received little attention, however, and it is not known which WM components and/or processes are being improved. Therefore, the goal of the present study was to investigate five possible mechanisms underlying the effects of adaptive dual n-back training on working memory (i. e., improvements in executive attention, updating, and focus switching, as well as increases in the capacity of the focus of attention and short-term memory). In addition to a no-contact control group, the present study also included an active control group whose members received nonadaptive training on the same task. All three groups showed significant improvements on the n-back task from pretest to posttest, but adaptive training produced larger improvements than did nonadaptive training, which in turn produced larger improvements than simply retesting. Adaptive, but not nonadaptive, training also resulted in improvements on an untrained running span task that measured the capacity of the focus of attention. No other differential improvements were observed, suggesting that increases in the capacity of the focus of attention underlie the benefits of adaptive dual n-back training.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84873155088&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84873155088&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3758/s13423-012-0335-6

DO - 10.3758/s13423-012-0335-6

M3 - Article

C2 - 23184506

AN - SCOPUS:84873155088

VL - 20

SP - 135

EP - 141

JO - Psychonomic Bulletin and Review

JF - Psychonomic Bulletin and Review

SN - 1069-9384

IS - 1

ER -