A defense of working memory training

There’s been a certain amount of criticism of working memory training recently. Scott Barry Kaufman in the Scientific American has put out an excellent article critiquing the criticism. Among his points (most of which I have previously made), he notes:

These nuanced effects suggest that personal characteristics should be taken into account when considering the effectiveness of cognitive training. …

Next, it’s important to consider that working memory training is most helpful for those who need it the most. …

[Nevertheless] The evidence suggests that the activities that show the strongest and most widespread effects on cognitive functioning are those that target the “whole person,” ...

Cook rightly notes that the effects of the large majority of working memory training programs don’t generalize well beyond the specific skills that are targeted. ...

It’s also important to keep in mind that regardless of the method, working memory improvements are transient. Repeated practice and challenge is essential to maintaining improvements in any kind of cognitive training or else they’ll very likely decline rapidly. ...

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