The effectiveness of working memory training with individuals with intellectual disabilities - a meta-analytic review
2015 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 6, no 1230Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Working memory (WM) training has been increasingly popular in the last years. Previous studies have shown that individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) have low WM capacity and therefore would benefit by this type of intervention. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of WM and cognitive training for individuals with ID. The effects reported in previous studies have varied and therefore a meta-analysis of articles in the major databases was conducted. Inclusion criteria included to have a pretest posttest design with a training group and a control group and to have measures of WM or short-term memory. Ten studies with 28 comparisons were included. The results reveal a significant, but small, overall pretest posttest effect size (ES) for WM training for individuals with ID compared to controls. A mixed WM approach, including both verbal and visuo-spatial components working mainly on strategies, was the only significant training type with a medium ES. The most commonly reported training type, visuo-spatial WM training, was performed in 60 percent of the included comparisons and had a non-significant ES close to zero. We conclude that even if there is an overall effect of WM training, a mixed WM approach appears to cause this effect. Given the few studies included and the different characteristics of the included studies, interpretations should be done with caution. However, different types of interventions appear to have different effects. Even if the results were promising, more studies are needed to better understand how to design an effective WM intervention for this group and to understand if, and how, these short-term effects remain over time and transfer to everyday activities.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers , 2015. Vol. 6, no 1230
intellectual disabilities; working memory training; visuo-spatial working memory; short-term memory; strategy training
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-121312DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01230ISI: 000359992900001PubMedID: 26347692OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-121312DiVA: diva2:854232
Funding Agencies|Swedish research council for health, working life and welfare (FAS) [2011-0934]; Stiftelsen Savstaholm [ST 2014-016]; University of Padova [CPDA 127939]2015-09-162015-09-142015-09-16