Reviewing working memory training gains in healthy older adults: a meta-analytic review of transfer for cognitive outcomes

Ana C. Teixeira-Santos*, Célia S. Moreira, Rosana Magalhães, Carina Magalhães, Diana R. Pereira, Jorge Leite, Sandra Carvalho, Adriana Sampaio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads

Abstract

The objective of this meta-analytic review was to systematically assess the effects of working memory training on healthy older adults. We identified 552 entries, of which 27 experiments met our inclusion criteria. The final database included 1130 participants. Near- and far-transfer effects were analysed with measures of short-term memory, working memory, and reasoning. Small significant and long-lasting transfer gains were observed in working memory tasks. Effects on reasoning was very small and only marginally significant. The effects of working memory training on both near and far transfer in older adults were moderated by the type of training tasks; the adopted outcome measures; the training duration; and the total number of training hours. In this review, we provide an updated review of the literature in the field by carrying out a robust multi-level meta-analysis focused exclusively on working memory training in healthy older adults. Recommendations for future research are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-177
Number of pages15
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Volume103
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

Keywords

  • Cognitive plasticity
  • Healthy ageing
  • Healthy older adults
  • Training transfer
  • Working memory training

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