Created by neuroscientists in Sweden, Cogmed Working Memory Training is used worldwide and validated by clinical, neuropsychological tests and published in peer-reviewed scientific papers.
The Cogmed Story
Learn how a scientific discovery is changing the way we understand and overcome the limits of the brain, and how Cogmed was born.
Preschoolers: Cogmed research shows improved working memory and behaviour
A gold standard random control study found that preschoolers who used Cogmed working memory programs improved their verbal working memory, visuo-spatial working memory and behavioural self-regulation, allowing them to benefit more from classroom instruction.
Foy, J. & Mann, V. (2014). Adaptive Cognitive Training Enhances Executive Control and Visuospatial and Verbal Working Memory in Beginning Readers. International Educational Research, 2(2), pp.19-43.
Primary students: Cogmed improves working memory
Holmes, J. & Gathercole, S. (2014). Taking working memory training from the laboratory into schools. Educational Psychology, 34(4), pp. 440-450,
Primary and high school students: Cogmed research shows improved attention
A study by Steven Beck at Ohio University found that children who used Cogmed showed improvements in ADHD symptoms, inattention and organisation.
Beck, S., Hanson, C., Puffenberger, S., Benninger, K. & Benninger, W. (2010). A Controlled Trial of Working Memory Training for Children and Adolescents with ADHD. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 39(6).
Adults: Cogmed creates lasting improvements in working memory, attention and cognitive functioning
In this gold standard random control double-blind research study by Brehmer et al., adults aged 20 to 70 years improved on visuo-spatial working memory and verbal working memory, sustained attention and self report of cognitive functioning. The improvements were maintained at 3 month follow-up.
Do the effects of Cogmed last?
Research shows that the effects of Cogmed working memory training are long-lasting – here are some examples of studies that included re-testing after 6 months.
Researchers at St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital found working memory and processing speed improvements were maintained 6 months after Cogmed training1.
Researchers at the Karolinska Institute found improvements in the working memory of adults aged 20 – 70 years were maintained at 3 month follow-up.
1. Conklin, H., Ashford, J., Clark, K., Martin-Elbahesh, K., Hardy, K., Merchant, T., Ogg, R., Jeha, S., Huang, L. & Zhang, H. (2017). Long-Term Efficacy of Computerized Cognitive Training Among Survivors of Childhood Cancer: A Single-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 42:220-231.
Are the effects transferable to non-trained tasks?
Yes. Studies show that working memory capacity is improved not only for the tasks that are part of the training program, but also for different working memory tasks. For example:
- Improvement in remembering and following long spoken instructions, a task that is highly relevant in daily life (Holmes et al., 2009a (Cambridge University, UK); Bergman-Nutley and Klingberg, 2014 (Karolinska Institute, Sweden).
- Improvement on independent working memory tests (Automated Working Memory Assessment), which was developed to specifically measure complex working memory (Holmes et al., 2009b; Carlson-Green et al., 2017; Peers et al., 2020).
- Improved ability to keep in mind, update and add digits (The Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task), a task not part of the training (Lundqvist et al., 2010; Brehmer et al., 2012).
Are there far-transfer effects on other skills (e.g. maths, reading, academic achievement?)
Yes – sometimes immediately, and sometimes after some time has passed.
Working memory capacity is thought to play an important role for a wide range of skills such as fluid intelligence, maths, reading, impulse control and self-regulation.
Some studies show immediate far-transfer effects to other skills, for example:
- Greater progress in English and Maths immediately and at the 6 month mark.
Other studies showed immediate improvements in working memory and/or attention, with far-transfer to academic skills only occurring 1 year later. This actually makes sense, as a student needs time to use their improved working memory in the classroom to make increased academic gains.
- A 4-year study followed a sample of year 1 students after they completed Cogmed training. They found positive effects on geometry skills, reading skills, Raven’s fluid IQ measure, the ability to inhibit pre-potent impulses and self-regulation abilities, but they discovered that the far-transfer effects emerge over time and only become fully visible after 12–13 months. They also documented that 3–4 years after Cogmed intervention, the children who received training had a roughly 16 percentage points higher probability of entering the academic track in secondary school.3
1. Holmes, J. & Gathercole, S. (2014). Taking working memory training from the laboratory into schools. Educational Psychology, 34(4), pp. 440-450.
2. Brehmer, Y., Westerberg, H., & Backman, L. (2012). Working-memory training in younger and older adults: training gains, transfer, and maintenance. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6(63).
3. Berger, E., Fehr, E., Hermes, H., Schunk, D. & Winkel, K. (2020). The Impact of Working Memory Training on Children’s Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills. NHH Dept. of Economics Discussion Paper 09/2020.
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