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. 2009 Sep 25;4(9):e7141.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007141.

Can the Error Detection Mechanism Benefit From Training the Working Memory? A Comparison Between Dyslexics and Controls--An ERP Study

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Can the Error Detection Mechanism Benefit From Training the Working Memory? A Comparison Between Dyslexics and Controls--An ERP Study

Tzipi Horowitz-Kraus et al. PLoS One. .
Free PMC article


Background: Based on the relationship between working memory and error detection, we investigated the capacity of adult dyslexic readers' working memory to change as a result of training, and the impact of training on the error detection mechanism.

Methodology: 27 dyslexics and 34 controls, all university students, participated in the study. ERP methodology and behavioral measures were employed prior to, immediately after, and 6 months after training. The CogniFit Personal Coach Program, which consists of 24 sessions of direct training of working memory skills, was used.

Findings: Both groups of readers gained from the training program but the dyslexic readers gained significantly more. In the dyslexic group, digit span increased from 9.84+/-3.15 to 10.79+/-3.03. Working memory training significantly increased the number of words per minute read correctly by 14.73%. Adult brain activity changed as a result of training, evidenced by an increase in both working memory capacity and the amplitude of the Error-related Negativity (ERN) component (24.71%). When ERN amplitudes increased, the percentage of errors on the Sternberg tests decreased.

Conclusions: We suggest that by expanding the working memory capacity, larger units of information are retained in the system, enabling more effective error detection. The crucial functioning of the central-executive as a sub-component of the working memory is also discussed.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Distribution of electrodes on the scalp.
Figure 2
Figure 2. ERN and CRN amplitudes in tests 1, 2 and 3 in dyslexics and controls.
A grand average for the ERN-CRN (response-locked) components for correct response (CRN) and for error response (ERN), represented by the dashed and the solid lines, respectively, for tests 1 (A,D), 2 (B,E) and 3 (C,F) in dyslexics (left column, A,B,C) and controls (right column, D,E,F) at the Cz electrode. The ERN is seen between 30 and 150 ms after response denoted by the vertical line at time 0. Note that the negative Y axis is plotted up.

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