Working memory difficulties and interventions
What we are interested in
The term working memory is used to describe our ability to remember information for very short periods of time and to be able to use that information, or some other relevant information, in our current thinking. Working memory is important for many everyday mental activities and it provides vital support for classroom learning.
We are interested in understanding what causes working memory difficulties and in developing ways to help children overcome associated difficulties at school.
How we do it
We carry out our research in schools with children aged 7-11 years. In a typical study, we start by administering a short set of assessments to identify the group of children we want to work with. These are often children with difficulties in reading, maths or language.
We then carry out a more comprehensive set of assessments, before administering an intervention (e.g. working memory training). After the intervention is complete, we reassess the children so that we are able to measure changes in performance.
What we have found so far
Our group has established close links between working memory and learning. We have learned that a child with poor working memory is at risk of making poor educational progress.
We have evaluated two approaches to supporting children with working memory problems. One involves managing working memory demands in classroom (for more information please click here).
The second uses working memory training to try and improve children’s memory skills. So far, we have shown that training improves children’s performance on memory tasks that have not been trained. We are currently developing ways to enhance training methods to improve learning outcomes.
How to take part
If you work in or are connected to a school and would like to take part in this research, or find out more, please email Dr Joni Holmes (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please note, the working memory research programme is separate from the CALM clinic. If you are a parent and your child has a learning difficulty and a specialist or practitioner has suggested your child should attend CALM, please click here to find out more.