Training and plasticity of working memory

Trends Cogn Sci. 2010 Jul;14(7):317-24. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2010.05.002. Epub 2010 Jun 16.


Working memory (WM) capacity predicts performance in a wide range of cognitive tasks. Although WM capacity has been viewed as a constant trait, recent studies suggest that it can be improved by adaptive and extended training. This training is associated with changes in brain activity in frontal and parietal cortex and basal ganglia, as well as changes in dopamine receptor density. Transfer of the training effects to non-trained WM tasks is consistent with the notion of training-induced plasticity in a common neural network for WM. The observed training effects suggest that WM training could be used as a remediating intervention for individuals for whom low WM capacity is a limiting factor for academic performance or in everyday life.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Teaching*
  • Transfer, Psychology / physiology*