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  • 1.
    Dahlin, Erika
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB).
    Bäckman, Lars
    Aging Research Center, Karolinska institutet,Stockholm.
    Stigsdotter Neely, Anna
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nyberg, Lars
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Radiation Sciences, Diagnostic Radiology.
    Training of the executive component of working memory: subcortial areas mediate transfer effects2009In: Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, ISSN 0922-6028, E-ISSN 1878-3627, Vol. 27, no 5, p. 405-419Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: Several recent studies show that training can improve working memory (WM) performance. In this review, many issues related to WM training, such as neural basis, transfer effects, and age-related changes are addressed.

    Method: We focus on our own studies investigating training on tasks taxing the executive updating function and discuss our findings in relation to results from other studies investigating training of the executive component of WM.

    Results: The review confirms positive behavioral effects of training on working memory. The most common neural pattern following training is fronto-parietal activity decreases. Increases in sub-cortical areas are also frequently reported after training, and we suggest that such increases indicate changes in the underlying skill following training. Transfer effects are in general difficult to demonstrate. Some studies show that older adults increase their performance after WM training. However, transfer effects are small or nonexistent in old age.

    Conclusions: The main finding in this review is that sub-cortical areas seem to have a critical role in mediating transfer effects to untrained tasks after at least some forms of working memory training (such as updating).

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