Impact of working memory training on memory performance in old-old adults

Psychol Aging. 2008 Dec;23(4):743-53. doi: 10.1037/a0014342.


Memory impairments constitute an increasing objective and subjective problem with advancing age. The aim of the present study was to investigate the impact of working memory training on memory performance. The authors trained a sample of 80-year-old adults twice weekly over a time period of 3 months. Participants were tested on 4 different memory measures before, immediately after, and 1 year after training completion. The authors found overall increased memory performance in the experimental group compared to an active control group immediately after training completion. This increase was especially pronounced in visual working memory performance and, to a smaller degree, also in visual episodic memory. No group differences were found 1 year after training completion. The results indicate that even in old?old adults, brain plasticity is strong enough to result in transfer effects, that is, performance increases in tasks that were not trained during the intervention.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term*
  • Orientation
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Practice, Psychological*
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Retention, Psychology
  • Serial Learning
  • Speech Perception
  • Transfer, Psychology