Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (Psychology) Honours
School of Psychology and Social Science
Computing, Health and Science
Dr Ken Robinson
Dr Ricks Allan
Investigations into n-back training and near transfer to short-term memory (STM) and working memory (WM) have realised inconsistent results. A significant transfer to STM was reported using dual n-back training (Jaeggi, Buschkuehl, Jonides, & Perrig, 2008). However, the majority of studies have found no significant transfer to WM as operationalised by complex span tasks using either single or dual n-back training. The current study examined the single n-back task and near transfer to STM and WM as operationalised by the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Abilities (Mather & Woodcock-Johnson, 2001). Forty-seven participants were divided into experimental treatment (n = 26) and active control (n = 21) groups; and engaged in 20 daily, 20-minute training sessions over a 30-day period using either a single n-back task, or a combination of two general knowledge tasks respectively. STM and WM psychometric tests were administered before and after the 30-day training process. No significant difference was found between pre- and post-training STM or WM scores, indicating both constructs were unlikely near transfer mechanisms for single nback training. There was concern that the non-significant WM finding may have been confounded as there is evidence to suggest that the single n-back task and one of the active control group tasks both relied on recognition for resolution. The small effect size associated with single n-back transfer to STM implied that this outcome was independent of the active control group. Furthermore, the non-significant result for STM suggests that single and dual n-back tasks differ in their transfer properties.
Beavon, P. (2012). Improving memory using N-back training. https://ro.ecu.edu.au/theses_hons/65