Head and Coordination



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01/2018 - 12/2020

Project DELTA

Daily Effects in Children's Working Memory Training: The Role of Daily Motivation, Well-being, and Sleep for Training Success in Elementary School Children

In the project DELTA we apply a working memory training with elementary school children. We investigate the impact of children’s daily experiences on training success, with a focus on motivation, well-being, and sleep on training days.

Working memory (WM) is responsible for simultaneously maintaining, processing, and updating information. WM-capacity has shown to be a central determinant of learning and school achievements in various domains and children reliably differ in this capacity. Cognitive training has been applied to enhance WM-capacity and most studies demonstrate that on average WM-capacity does indeed improve through training. There are, however, individual differences in such training effects, indicating that children benefit to varying degrees. Further, only some studies demonstrate transfer effects to untrained cognitive abilities, such as intelligence.

In the project DELTA we investigate the impact of children’s daily experiences on training success. We focus on motivation, well-being, and sleep on training days during a WM-training. These variables are known to influence WM-performance, but their relation with training and transfer effects is largely unknown. It is further unknown how children differ in such relations. For example, for one child current motivation might be crucial, whereas for another child sleep quality could be more important. This helps us to better understand for whom and in which situations WM training is more successful.

Selected Publications

Könen, T., Dirk, J., & Schmiedek, F. (2015). Cognitive benefits of last night's sleep: Daily variations in children's sleep behavior are related to working memory fluctuations. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 56, 171–182. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12296

Könen, T., & Karbach, J. (2015). The benefits of looking at intraindividual dynamics in cognitive training data. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 615. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00615

Könen, T., Strobach, T., & Karbach, J. (2016). Working memory. In T. Strobach & J. Karbach (Eds.), Cognitive training: An overview of features and applications (pp. 59–68). Berlin: Springer.