The 2-back task also used commonly for evaluating WM updating ability Zhao et al. Because of the similarities in task requirements, the 2-back task and the running memory task that we used as training task may rely on the same cognitive resource so that improvement in the training task contributed to the improvement in the 2-back task Chen et al.
While no significant improvements in RT were observed in the posttest compared with the pretest, accuracy in the 2-back task increased significantly. Similar to previous studies Carretti et al. Over the course of the day training period in the present study, 2-back task performance in the TLDs group improved significantly compared with that in the CLDs and NC groups, suggesting the occurrence of WM lag in children with LDs.
However, in recent years, the results of training completed by children Thorell et al. According to Gray et al. The researchers observed that the WM training program yielded a considerably larger improvement in verbal WM capability than did the mathematics training program and that this effect could transfer to visuospatial WM capability.
Another study observed that college students with LDs or ADHD exhibited considerable improvement in attention deficit and cognitive difficulties after 5 weeks of Cogmed WM training Gropper et al.
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The Cogmed training program is aimed at improving general WM capability by influencing each WM component Klingberg et al. The most prominent symptom of LDs is poor reading and mathematics abilities, both of which directly influence academic performance Swanson and Beebe-Frankenberger, ; Gathercole et al.
Core training seeks to produce increased WM capability by focusing on the strengthening of domain-general WM processes. If these WM processes are indeed strengthened, this approach would yield improvements not only on tasks similar to those used in training, but also, on more disparate cognitive measures Morrison and Chein, Following previous related studies, our study investigated the transfer effect of WM updating training on academic performance in children with LDs.
Similar to the results of previous studies Kroesbergen et al. Over the course of the day training period, mathematics performance in the TLDs group improved significantly compared with that in the CLDs and NC groups, suggesting that this outcome was the result of training rather than self-development.
Tasks, Questions, and Practices - National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Other studies that have employed the Cogmed program to train WM in children and college students with LDs have not reported any such improvements in mathematics performance Gray et al. We observed no language improvement in our study, which was inconsistent with the findings of Loosli et al. Based on the hypotheses that transfer occurs if the criteria and transfer tasks initially engage similar processes and that brain circuits predict overlapping activity before training Dahlin et al.
In mathematical learning, updating operational symbols is more crucial than applying basic operational rules. Therefore, updating training might be a direct and effective method for improving mathematical ability. Another possible explanation is that improving language ability requires more time than does improving mathematical ability.
This could serve as a target of investigation for future studies. Fluid intelligence is a complex ability that enables an individual to adapt their thinking to new cognitive problems and situations Carpenter et al. Many studies have suggested that WM capability and fluid intelligence share neural networks in the lateral prefrontal and parietal cortices Kane and Engle, ; Gray et al.
Several studies have reported that WM can be used to predict fluid intelligence Jaeggi et al. Based on the results of these studies, the possibility of improving fluid intelligence through WM training has been investigated Jaeggi et al.
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Whether WM updating training is able to improve fluid intelligence has been strongly debated in recent years Harrison et al. Although many studies have revealed positive effects of WM updating training on fluid intelligence Jaeggi et al. We offer three explanations for this result. One is that the training effect is delayed; Holmes et al. The second explanation is that the training effect on fluid intelligence is dependent on the degree of improvement exhibited by participants in the WM task, as shown in previous studies Jaeggi et al.
The last explanation is that, whereas WM and fluid intelligence are highly related and it would be easy to conclude that they reflect the same cognitive mechanism, they are separable constructs Heitz et al. The results suggested that WM and fluid intelligence were different hypothetical constructs and that an intervention that improve WM may have no effect on fluid intelligence Harrison et al.
Based on these findings, we recommend verification through further research. There was also an interesting result that, although there was no significant improvement, the fluid intelligence of participants in each group seemed to be improved over time. It indicated that the fluid intelligence between LD and normal children were all plastic and all can be improved by the WM updating training, which is supported by Chen and Li that WM updating has been found to mediate the association between age and fluid intelligence.
ERPs are electrical activities locked to specific task events or responses. They offer high temporal resolutions within a range of milliseconds for neural processes underlying behavioral performance Banaschewski and Brandeis, ; Liu et al. The results indicated that the average amplitude of the P component in children in the TLDs group substantially increased over the course of the training, eventually approximating that in children without LDs.
The P component has been regarded as a valid index for WM updating ability Gevins et al.
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In the context-updating model, when information is presented, the brain responds and applies the new information to the current situation, thereby forming new representations to replace old ones. The brain should adjust current information based on the continuously changing environment Donchin, ; Donchin and Coles, Studies have suggested that individuals with high cognitive abilities exhibit a higher average P amplitude. Furthermore, studies on cognitive aging have provided evidence that the average P amplitude decreases with age McEvoy et al.
The results of the current study indicated that training can improve the WM updating capability of children with LDs, which agrees with the findings of Zhao et al. The results of the current study indicated that the peak N value in the TLDs group increased significantly throughout the training period.
Moreover, the component in the central area represents the cognitive control function Daffner et al. This indicates that the effects of training are exerted at the perception stage, thereby facilitating improvement in cognitive control function and updating ability. The P amplitude evoked from the frontal area reflects the inhibition of irrelevant information and the ability to attend to the target stimulus McEvoy et al.
This suggested that training could not improve aspects of the inhibitory capacity such as updating in children with LDs. The results of this study differed from those of Zhao et al. In addition, studies have shown that LDs can cause inhibition deficits Wang et al. Special training for the inhibitory capacity of WM in children with LDs could be useful in influencing the P component. WM capability is plastic in children with LDs. These children exhibit WM deficiencies that can be mitigated through WM updating training.
The effects of WM updating training can transfer to cognitive functions such as mathematical ability. Changes in brain activity are associated with improved cognitive control and WM updating ability, both of which are associated with WM updating training. HZ and RZ were in charge of framing the questions, conducting the study and writing up the results. XC and LM helped with data collection. LC was in charge of final revision and modification.
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. We express our gratitude for the support for this project. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Front Hum Neurosci v.
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Front Hum Neurosci. Published online Apr Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Received Dec 9; Accepted Apr 5. The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author s and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. Keywords: learning difficulties, working memory, updating training, N, P Materials and Methods Ethics Statement The study was reviewed and approved by the Ethics Board of Beijing Normal University and the study was conducted in accordance with ethics guidelines of the American Psychological Association.
Training Task We used three versions of an adaptive running memory task for training, involving letters, animals and locations Zhao et al. Open in a separate window. Figure 1. Figure 2. Figure 3. Academic Tests China has no standard academic achievement tests. Procedure We employed a double-blind controlled design. Table 3 The academic performance Z of each group in pre- and post-test training. Figure 4. Figure 5. Figure 6. Discussion The purpose of the current study was to investigate whether WM updating training could improve WM updating ability in children with LDs.
Effects of WM Updating Training on Fluid Intelligence Fluid intelligence is a complex ability that enables an individual to adapt their thinking to new cognitive problems and situations Carpenter et al. Conclusion WM capability is plastic in children with LDs. Author Contributions HZ and RZ were in charge of framing the questions, conducting the study and writing up the results. Conflict of Interest Statement The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
References Alloway T. Computerized working memory training: can it lead to gains in cognitive skills in students? Human Behav. Verbal and visuo-spatial short-term and working memory in children: are they separable? Child Dev. Improving fluid intelligence with training on working memory: a meta-analysis. Working memory. Canberra: Curriculum Development Corporation.
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Hawthorn: Australian Council of Educational Research. Clements, M. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 11 1 , 1— CrossRef Google Scholar. Davis, P. The mathematical experience. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
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