Working memory in explaining individual differences in scholastic skills : insights from assessment and training

Tutkimustuotos: OpinnäyteVäitöskirja

Kuvaus

Working memory (WM), a limited cognitive storing and processing mechanism for information, explains individual differences in scholastic learning and, more generally, complex cognition. One dominant view explaining these relationships proposes that variation in WM capacity reflects individual differences in general attentional processes. However, some models propose, that there are also domain-specific aspects in WM that explain variation in cognitive skills. Present series of four studies explored the nature of the mechanisms explaining the close relation between WM and scholastic skills in 5–16-year-old children and adolescents. A total of 1069 subjects participated in the studies. Studies I and II investigated whether the individual differences in the general cognitive capacity are sensitive to external or internal distraction. In Study I the natural environmental noise at the classroom during WM assessment was documented (external distraction). In Study II the complexity of the WM task was manipulated (task’s internal distraction). The contribution of the distraction in the memory scores and in the correlation between WM and scholastic skills was explored. Studies III and IV, in turn, aimed at investigating whether this relationship is causal, that is, whether the training of domain-general WM capacity or domain-specific counting skills, or both, would enhance children's WM and emergent mathematical skills. In two interventions lasting four to five weeks, domains of WM components (verbal WM and short-term memory, STM; visuospatial WM and STM; Study III) and domains of outcome (counting, combined WM and counting; Study IV) were addressed. The results of Studies I and II showed that environmental distraction and task demands contributed the relationship between WM and scholastic skills manifesting the individual differences more clearly. The cognitive constructs assessed appeared to be highly overlapping. However, the results of Studies III and IV indicate that while WM has an important role in scholastic skills, the computerised training of different WM domains did not lead to improvement in numeracy. Despite the lack of such training effects, the group-based interventions addressed to the skill of interest, in this case numeracy, enhanced these skills. Taken together, the present results suggest that while attentional load contributes substantially to individual differences in WM capacity by restricting the mental workspace, the acquired long-term memory representations are needed in order to apply the WM capacity in scholastic learning. The results of the present thesis can be applied in regognising the cognitive deficits that hinders children's scholastic learning, and in developing interventions that benefit scholastic skills.
Alkuperäiskielienglanti
Valvoja/neuvonantaja
  • Kalakoski, Virpi, Valvoja
  • Alho, Kimmo, Valvoja
JulkaisupaikkaHelsinki
Kustantaja
Painoksen ISBN978-951-51-5422-4
Sähköinen ISBN978-951-51-5423-1
TilaJulkaistu - 2019
OKM-julkaisutyyppiG5 Tohtorinväitöskirja (artikkeli)

Tieteenalat

  • 515 Psykologia

Lainaa tätä

@phdthesis{6b28aa6fea4743c98c6a56e7f4deff35,
title = "Working memory in explaining individual differences in scholastic skills : insights from assessment and training",
abstract = "Working memory (WM), a limited cognitive storing and processing mechanism for information, explains individual differences in scholastic learning and, more generally, complex cognition. One dominant view explaining these relationships proposes that variation in WM capacity reflects individual differences in general attentional processes. However, some models propose, that there are also domain-specific aspects in WM that explain variation in cognitive skills. Present series of four studies explored the nature of the mechanisms explaining the close relation between WM and scholastic skills in 5–16-year-old children and adolescents. A total of 1069 subjects participated in the studies. Studies I and II investigated whether the individual differences in the general cognitive capacity are sensitive to external or internal distraction. In Study I the natural environmental noise at the classroom during WM assessment was documented (external distraction). In Study II the complexity of the WM task was manipulated (task’s internal distraction). The contribution of the distraction in the memory scores and in the correlation between WM and scholastic skills was explored. Studies III and IV, in turn, aimed at investigating whether this relationship is causal, that is, whether the training of domain-general WM capacity or domain-specific counting skills, or both, would enhance children's WM and emergent mathematical skills. In two interventions lasting four to five weeks, domains of WM components (verbal WM and short-term memory, STM; visuospatial WM and STM; Study III) and domains of outcome (counting, combined WM and counting; Study IV) were addressed. The results of Studies I and II showed that environmental distraction and task demands contributed the relationship between WM and scholastic skills manifesting the individual differences more clearly. The cognitive constructs assessed appeared to be highly overlapping. However, the results of Studies III and IV indicate that while WM has an important role in scholastic skills, the computerised training of different WM domains did not lead to improvement in numeracy. Despite the lack of such training effects, the group-based interventions addressed to the skill of interest, in this case numeracy, enhanced these skills. Taken together, the present results suggest that while attentional load contributes substantially to individual differences in WM capacity by restricting the mental workspace, the acquired long-term memory representations are needed in order to apply the WM capacity in scholastic learning. The results of the present thesis can be applied in regognising the cognitive deficits that hinders children's scholastic learning, and in developing interventions that benefit scholastic skills.",
keywords = "Memory, Short-Term, Cognition, Learning, Attention, Noise, Adolescent, Child, Practice (Psychology), 515 Psychology",
author = "Kaisa Kanerva",
note = "M1 - 67 s. liitteet",
year = "2019",
language = "English",
isbn = "978-951-51-5422-4",
publisher = "[K. Kanerva]",
address = "Finland",

}

Working memory in explaining individual differences in scholastic skills : insights from assessment and training. / Kanerva, Kaisa.

Helsinki : [K. Kanerva], 2019. 67 s.

Tutkimustuotos: OpinnäyteVäitöskirja

TY - THES

T1 - Working memory in explaining individual differences in scholastic skills : insights from assessment and training

AU - Kanerva, Kaisa

N1 - M1 - 67 s. liitteet

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - Working memory (WM), a limited cognitive storing and processing mechanism for information, explains individual differences in scholastic learning and, more generally, complex cognition. One dominant view explaining these relationships proposes that variation in WM capacity reflects individual differences in general attentional processes. However, some models propose, that there are also domain-specific aspects in WM that explain variation in cognitive skills. Present series of four studies explored the nature of the mechanisms explaining the close relation between WM and scholastic skills in 5–16-year-old children and adolescents. A total of 1069 subjects participated in the studies. Studies I and II investigated whether the individual differences in the general cognitive capacity are sensitive to external or internal distraction. In Study I the natural environmental noise at the classroom during WM assessment was documented (external distraction). In Study II the complexity of the WM task was manipulated (task’s internal distraction). The contribution of the distraction in the memory scores and in the correlation between WM and scholastic skills was explored. Studies III and IV, in turn, aimed at investigating whether this relationship is causal, that is, whether the training of domain-general WM capacity or domain-specific counting skills, or both, would enhance children's WM and emergent mathematical skills. In two interventions lasting four to five weeks, domains of WM components (verbal WM and short-term memory, STM; visuospatial WM and STM; Study III) and domains of outcome (counting, combined WM and counting; Study IV) were addressed. The results of Studies I and II showed that environmental distraction and task demands contributed the relationship between WM and scholastic skills manifesting the individual differences more clearly. The cognitive constructs assessed appeared to be highly overlapping. However, the results of Studies III and IV indicate that while WM has an important role in scholastic skills, the computerised training of different WM domains did not lead to improvement in numeracy. Despite the lack of such training effects, the group-based interventions addressed to the skill of interest, in this case numeracy, enhanced these skills. Taken together, the present results suggest that while attentional load contributes substantially to individual differences in WM capacity by restricting the mental workspace, the acquired long-term memory representations are needed in order to apply the WM capacity in scholastic learning. The results of the present thesis can be applied in regognising the cognitive deficits that hinders children's scholastic learning, and in developing interventions that benefit scholastic skills.

AB - Working memory (WM), a limited cognitive storing and processing mechanism for information, explains individual differences in scholastic learning and, more generally, complex cognition. One dominant view explaining these relationships proposes that variation in WM capacity reflects individual differences in general attentional processes. However, some models propose, that there are also domain-specific aspects in WM that explain variation in cognitive skills. Present series of four studies explored the nature of the mechanisms explaining the close relation between WM and scholastic skills in 5–16-year-old children and adolescents. A total of 1069 subjects participated in the studies. Studies I and II investigated whether the individual differences in the general cognitive capacity are sensitive to external or internal distraction. In Study I the natural environmental noise at the classroom during WM assessment was documented (external distraction). In Study II the complexity of the WM task was manipulated (task’s internal distraction). The contribution of the distraction in the memory scores and in the correlation between WM and scholastic skills was explored. Studies III and IV, in turn, aimed at investigating whether this relationship is causal, that is, whether the training of domain-general WM capacity or domain-specific counting skills, or both, would enhance children's WM and emergent mathematical skills. In two interventions lasting four to five weeks, domains of WM components (verbal WM and short-term memory, STM; visuospatial WM and STM; Study III) and domains of outcome (counting, combined WM and counting; Study IV) were addressed. The results of Studies I and II showed that environmental distraction and task demands contributed the relationship between WM and scholastic skills manifesting the individual differences more clearly. The cognitive constructs assessed appeared to be highly overlapping. However, the results of Studies III and IV indicate that while WM has an important role in scholastic skills, the computerised training of different WM domains did not lead to improvement in numeracy. Despite the lack of such training effects, the group-based interventions addressed to the skill of interest, in this case numeracy, enhanced these skills. Taken together, the present results suggest that while attentional load contributes substantially to individual differences in WM capacity by restricting the mental workspace, the acquired long-term memory representations are needed in order to apply the WM capacity in scholastic learning. The results of the present thesis can be applied in regognising the cognitive deficits that hinders children's scholastic learning, and in developing interventions that benefit scholastic skills.

KW - Memory, Short-Term

KW - Cognition

KW - Learning

KW - Attention

KW - Noise

KW - Adolescent

KW - Child

KW - Practice (Psychology)

KW - 515 Psychology

M3 - Doctoral Thesis

SN - 978-951-51-5422-4

PB - [K. Kanerva]

CY - Helsinki

ER -