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24-04-2018 | Original Article | Uitgave 7/2019

Psychological Research 7/2019

Training and transfer effects of interference control training in children and young adults

Psychological Research > Uitgave 7/2019
Xin Zhao, Lina Jia


Many studies have examined transfer of working memory (WM) training improvements to non-trained cognitive tasks, with largely disappointing results. Interference control has been suggested to be a central feature of WM. However, studies examining transfer effects of a training program exclusively and directly targeting interference control are lacking. Forty-one 10‒12 year-old children and 47 19‒24 year-old adults were assigned to an adaptive interference control training or active control condition. Transfer of training effects to tasks measuring interference control, response inhibition, WM updating, task-switching, and non-verbal fluid intelligence were assessed during a 3-month follow-up session and/or an immediate post-training session. Substantial evidence of training improvements and a positive transfer effect to a non-trained interference control task were observed for both age groups. Marginal evidence for beneficial transfer of training effects for the trained compared to non-trained participants was found for a WM task for both age groups, and for the children for another interference control task and a response inhibition task. However, these transfer effects were absent during the 3-month follow-up measurement. These results suggest some potential for interference control training programs to enhance aspects of cognitive functioning, with some evidence for a more wide-spread, but short-lived, transfer for children compared to adults.

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