Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 22

Working memory Related Abstracts

22 Effects of Listening to Pleasant Thai Classical Music on Increasing Working Memory in Elderly: An Electroencephalogram Study

Authors: Seree Chadcham, Anchana Julsiri


The present study determined the effects of listening to pleasant Thai classical music on increasing working memory in elderly. Thai classical music without lyrics that made participants feel fun and aroused was used in the experiment for 3.19-5.40 minutes. The accuracy scores of Counting Span Task (CST), upper alpha ERD%, and theta ERS% were used to assess working memory of participants both before and after listening to pleasant Thai classical music. The results showed that the accuracy scores of CST and upper alpha ERD% in the frontal area of participants after listening to Thai classical music were significantly higher than before listening to Thai classical music (p < .05). Theta ERS% in the fronto-parietal network of participants after listening to Thai classical music was significantly lower than before listening to Thai classical music (p < .05).

Keywords: Working memory, Elderly, brain wave, pleasant Thai classical music

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21 A Novel NRIS Index to Evaluate Brain Activity in Prefrontal Regions While Listening to First and Second Languages for Long Time Periods

Authors: Kajiro Watanabe, Yosuke Kurihara, Hiroshi Tanaka, Takashi Kaburagi, Kensho Takahashi, Ko Watanabe


Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) has been widely used as a non-invasive method to measure brain activity, but it is corrupted by baseline drift noise. Here we present a method to measure regional cerebral blood flow as a derivative of NIRS output. We investigate whether, when listening to languages, blood flow can reasonably localize and represent regional brain activity or not. The prefrontal blood flow distribution pattern when advanced second-language listeners listened to a second language (L2) was most similar to that when listening to their first language (L1) among the patterns of mean and standard deviation. In experiments with 25 healthy subjects, the maximum blood flow was localized to the left BA46 of advanced listeners. The blood flow presented is robust to baseline drift and stably localizes regional brain activity.

Keywords: Working memory, Second Language, first language, blood flow, NIRS, oxy-hemoglobin, baseline drift, BA46

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20 Math Anxiety Effects on Complex Addition: An ERP Study

Authors: María Isabel Núñez-Peña, Macarena Suárez Pellicioni


In the present study, we used event-related potentials (ERP) to address the question of whether high (HMA) and low math-anxious (LMA) individuals differ on a complex addition verification task, which involved both carrying and non-carrying additions. ERPs were recorded while seventeen HMA and seventeen LMA individuals performed the verification task. Groups did not differ in trait anxiety or gender distribution. Participants were presented with two-digit additions and were asked to decide whether the proposed solution was correct or incorrect. Behavioral data showed a significant Carrying x Proposed solution x Group interaction for accuracy, showing that carrying additions were more error prone than non-carrying ones for both groups, although the difference non-carrying minus carrying was larger for the HMA group. As for ERPs, a P2 component larger in HMA individuals than in their LMA peers was found both for carrying and non-carrying additions. The P2 was followed by a sustained negative slow wave at parietal positions. Because the negative slow waves are thought to reflect the updating of working memory, these results give support to the relationship among working memory, math performance and math anxiety.

Keywords: Working memory, math anxiety, carrying

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19 Spatial Working Memory Is Enhanced by the Differential Outcome Procedure in a Group of Participants with Mild Cognitive Impairment

Authors: Ana B. Vivas, Antonia Ypsilanti, Aristea I. Ladas, Angeles F. Estevez


Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is considered an intermediate stage between normal and pathological aging, as a substantial percentage of people diagnosed with MCI converts later to dementia of the Alzheimer’s type. Memory is of the first cognitive processes to deteriorate in this condition. In the present study we employed the differential outcomes procedure (DOP) to improve visuospatial memory in a group of participants with MCI. The DOP requires the structure of a conditional discriminative learning task in which a correct choice response to a specific stimulus-stimulus association is reinforced with a particular reinforcer or outcome. A group of 10 participants with MCI, and a matched control group had to learn and keep in working memory four target locations out of eight possible locations where a shape could be presented. Results showed that participants with MCI had a statistically significant better terminal accuracy when a unique outcome was paired with a location (76% accuracy) as compared to a non differential outcome condition (64%). This finding suggests that the DOP is useful in improving working memory in MCI patients, which may delay their conversion to dementia.

Keywords: Working memory, Cognitive Process, mild cognitive impairment, differential outcomes

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18 Short-Term and Working Memory Differences Across Age and Gender in Children

Authors: Farzaneh Badinloo, Niloufar Jalali-Moghadam, Reza Kormi-Nouri


The aim of this study was to explore the short-term and working memory performances across age and gender in school aged children. Most of the studies have been interested in looking into memory changes in adult subjects. This study was instead focused on exploring both short-term and working memories of children over time. Totally 410 school child participants belonging to four age groups (approximately 8, 10, 12 and 14 years old) among which were 201 girls and 208 boys were employed in the study. digits forward and backward tests of the Wechsler children intelligence scale-revised were conducted respectively as short-term and working memory measures. According to results, there was found a general increment in both short-term and working memory scores across age (p ˂ .05) by which whereas short-term memory performance was shown to increase up to 12 years old, working memory scores showed no significant increase after 10 years old of age. No difference was observed in terms of gender (p ˃ .05). In conclusion, this study suggested that both short-term and working memories improve across age in children where 12 and 10 years of old are likely the crucial age periods in terms of short-term and working memories development.

Keywords: Gender, Working memory, age, short-term memory

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17 Effectiveness of Medication and Non-Medication Therapy on Working Memory of Children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder

Authors: Mohaammad Ahmadpanah, Amineh Akhondi, Mohammad Haghighi, Ali Ghaleiha, Leila Jahangard, Elham Salari


Background: Working memory includes the capability to keep and manipulate information in a short period of time. This capability is the basis of complicated judgments and has been attended to as the specific and constant character of individuals. Children with attention deficit and hyperactivity are among the people suffering from deficiency in the active memory, and this deficiency has been attributed to the problem of frontal lobe. This study utilizes a new approach with suitable tasks and methods for training active memory and assessment of the effects of the trainings. Participants: The children participating in this study were of 7-15 year age, who were diagnosed by the psychiatrist and psychologist as hyperactive and attention deficit based on DSM-IV criteria. The intervention group was consisted of 8 boys and 6 girls with the average age of 11 years and standard deviation of 2, and the control group was consisted of 2 girls and 5 boys with an average age of 11.4 and standard deviation of 3. Three children in the test group and two in the control group were under medicinal therapy. Results: Working memory training meaningfully improved the performance in not-trained areas as visual-spatial working memory as well as the performance in Raven progressive tests which are a perfect example of non-verbal, complicated reasoning tasks. In addition, motional activities – measured based on the number of head movements during computerized measuring program – was meaningfully reduced in the medication group. The results of the second test showed that training similar exercise to teenagers and adults results in the improvement of cognition functions, as in hyperactive people. Discussion: The results of this study showed that the performance of working memory is improved through training, and these trainings are extended and generalized in other areas of cognition functions not receiving any training. Trainings resulted in the improvement of performance in the tasks related to prefrontal. They had also a positive and meaningful impact on the moving activities of hyperactive children.

Keywords: Children, Working memory, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, non-medical treatment

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16 Improving Working Memory in School Children through Chess Training

Authors: Veena Easvaradoss, Ebenezer Joseph, Sumathi Chandrasekaran, Sweta Jain, Aparna Anna Mathai, Senta Christy


Working memory refers to a cognitive processing space where information is received, managed, transformed, and briefly stored. It is an operational process of transforming information for the execution of cognitive tasks in different and new ways. Many class room activities require children to remember information and mentally manipulate it. While the impact of chess training on intelligence and academic performance has been unequivocally established, its impact on working memory needs to be studied. This study, funded by the Cognitive Science Research Initiative, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, analyzed the effect of one-year chess training on the working memory of children. A pretest–posttest with control group design was used, with 52 children in the experimental group and 50 children in the control group. The sample was selected from children studying in school (grades 3 to 9), which included both the genders. The experimental group underwent weekly chess training for one year, while the control group was involved in extracurricular activities. Working memory was measured by two subtests of WISC-IV INDIA. The Digit Span Subtest involves recalling a list of numbers of increasing length presented orally in forward and in reverse order, and the Letter–Number Sequencing Subtest involves rearranging jumbled alphabets and numbers presented orally following a given rule. Both tasks require the child to receive and briefly store information, manipulate it, and present it in a changed format. The Children were trained using Winning Moves curriculum, audio- visual learning method, hands-on- chess training and recording the games using score sheets, analyze their mistakes, thereby increasing their Meta-Analytical abilities. They were also trained in Opening theory, Checkmating techniques, End-game theory and Tactical principles. Pre equivalence of means was established. Analysis revealed that the experimental group had significant gains in working memory compared to the control group. The present study clearly establishes a link between chess training and working memory. The transfer of chess training to the improvement of working memory could be attributed to the fact that while playing chess, children evaluate positions, visualize new positions in their mind, analyze the pros and cons of each move, and choose moves based on the information stored in their mind. If working-memory’s capacity could be expanded or made to function more efficiently, it could result in the improvement of executive functions as well as the scholastic performance of the child.

Keywords: Working memory, Cognitive development, School Children, Executive Functions, chess training

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15 Effect of Noise Reducing Headphones on the Short-Term Memory Recall of College Students

Authors: Gregory W. Smith, Paul J. Riccomini


The goal of this empirical inquiry is to explore the effect of noise reducing headphones on the short-term memory recall of college students. Immediately following the presentation (via PowerPoint) of 12 unrelated and randomly selected one- and two-syllable words, students were asked to recall as many words as possible. Using a linear model with conditions marked with binary indicators, we examined the frequency and accuracy of words that were recalled. The findings indicate that for some students, a reduction of noise has a significant positive impact on their ability to recall information. As classrooms become more aurally distracting due to the implementation of cooperative learning activities, these findings highlight the need for a quiet learning environment for some learners.

Keywords: Education, Noise, Instruction, Working memory, auditory distraction

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14 Grounding Chinese Language Vocabulary Teaching and Assessment in the Working Memory Research

Authors: Chan Kwong Tung


Since Baddeley and Hitch’s seminal research in 1974 on working memory (WM), this topic has been of great interest to language educators. Although there are some variations in the definitions of WM, recent findings in WM have contributed vastly to our understanding of language learning, especially its effects on second language acquisition (SLA). For example, the phonological component of WM (PWM) and the executive component of WM (EWM) have been found to be positively correlated with language learning. This paper discusses two general, yet highly relevant WM findings that could directly affect the effectiveness of Chinese Language (CL) vocabulary teaching and learning, as well as the quality of its assessment. First, PWM is found to be critical for the long-term learning of phonological forms of new words. Second, EWM is heavily involved in interpreting the semantic characteristics of new words, which consequently affects the quality of learners’ reading comprehension. These two ideas are hardly discussed in the Chinese literature, both conceptual and empirical. While past vocabulary acquisition studies have mainly focused on the cognitive-processing approach, active processing, ‘elaborate processing’ (or lexical elaboration) and other effective learning tasks and strategies, it is high time to balance the spotlight to the WM (particularly PWM and EWM) to ensure an optimum control on the teaching and learning effectiveness of such approaches, as well as the validity of this language assessment. Given the unique phonological, orthographical and morphological properties of the CL, this discussion will shed some light on the vocabulary acquisition of this Sino-Tibetan language family member. Together, these two WM concepts could have crucial implications for the design, development, and planning of vocabularies and ultimately reading comprehension teaching and assessment in language education. Hopefully, this will raise an awareness and trigger a dialogue about the meaning of these findings for future language teaching, learning, and assessment.

Keywords: Working memory, Chinese Language, vocabulary teaching, vocabulary assessment

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13 Relation between Sensory Processing Patterns and Working Memory in Autistic Children

Authors: Abbas Nesayan


Background: In recent years, autism has been under consideration in public and research area. Autistic children have dysfunction in communication, socialization, repetitive and stereotyped behaviors. In addition, they clinically suffer from difficulty in attention, challenge with familiar behaviors and sensory processing problems. Several variables are linked to sensory processing problems in autism, one of these variables is working memory. Working memory is part of the executive function which provides the necessary ability to completing multiple stages tasks. Method: This study has categorized in correlational research methods. After determining of entry criteria, according to purposive sampling method, 50 children were selected. Dunn’s sensory profile school companion was used for assessment of sensory processing patterns; behavioral rating inventory of executive functions was used (BRIEF) for assessment of working memory. Pearson correlation coefficient and linear regression were used for data analyzing. Results: The results showed the significant relationship between sensory processing patterns (low registration, sensory seeking, sensory sensitivity and sensory avoiding) with working memory in autistic children. Conclusion: According to the findings, there is the significant relationship between the patterns of sensory processing and working memory. So, in order to improve the working memory could be used some interventions based on the sensory processing.

Keywords: autism, Working memory, autistic children, sensory processing patterns

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12 Emotional Awareness and Working Memory as Predictive Factors for the Habitual Use of Cognitive Reappraisal among Adolescents

Authors: Yuri Kitahara


Background: Cognitive reappraisal refers to an emotion regulation strategy in which one changes the interpretation of emotion-eliciting events. Numerous studies show that cognitive reappraisal is associated with mental health and better social functioning. However the examination of the predictive factors of adaptive emotion regulation remains as an issue. The present study examined the factors contributing to the habitual use of cognitive reappraisal, with a focus on emotional awareness and working memory. Methods: Data was collected from 30 junior high school students, using a Japanese version of the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ), the Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale for Children (LEAS-C), and N-back task. Results: A positive correlation between emotional awareness and cognitive reappraisal was observed in the high-working-memory group (r = .54, p < .05), whereas no significant relationship was found in the low-working-memory group. In addition, the results of the analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed a significant interaction between emotional awareness and working memory capacity (F(1, 26) = 7.74, p < .05). Subsequent analysis of simple main effects confirmed that high working memory capacity significantly increases the use of cognitive reappraisal for high-emotional-awareness subjects, and significantly decreases the use of cognitive reappraisal for low-emotional-awareness subjects. Discussion: These results indicate that under the condition when one has an adequate ability for simultaneous processing of information, explicit understanding of emotion would contribute to adaptive cognitive emotion regulation. The findings are discussed along with neuroscientific claims.

Keywords: Working memory, emotion regulation, Emotional Awareness, cognitive reappraisal

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11 Selective Effect of Occipital Alpha Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation in Perception and Working Memory

Authors: Andreina Giustiniani, Massimiliano Oliveri


Rhythmic activity in different frequencies could subserve distinct functional roles during visual perception and visual mental imagery. In particular, alpha band activity is thought to play a role in active inhibition of both task-irrelevant regions and processing of non-relevant information. In the present blind placebo-controlled study we applied alpha transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) in the occipital cortex both during a basic visual perception and a visual working memory task. To understand if the role of alpha is more related to a general inhibition of distractors or to an inhibition of task-irrelevant regions, we added a non visual distraction to both the tasks.Sixteen adult volunteers performed both a simple perception and a working memory task during 10 Hz tACS. The electrodes were placed over the left and right occipital cortex, the current intensity was 1 mA peak-to-baseline. Sham stimulation was chosen as control condition and in order to elicit the skin sensation similar to the real stimulation, electrical stimulation was applied for short periods (30 s) at the beginning of the session and then turned off. The tasks were split in two sets, in one set distracters were included and in the other set, there were no distracters. Motor interference was added by changing the answer key after subjects completed the first set of trials.The results show that alpha tACS improves working memory only when no motor distracters are added, suggesting a role of alpha tACS in inhibiting non-relevant regions rather than in a general inhibition of distractors. Additionally, we found that alpha tACS does not affect accuracy and hit rates during the visual perception task. These results suggest that alpha activity in the occipital cortex plays a different role in perception and working memory and it could optimize performance in tasks in which attention is internally directed, as in this working memory paradigm, but only when there is not motor distraction. Moreover, alpha tACS improves working memory performance by means of inhibition of task-irrelevant regions while it does not affect perception.

Keywords: Perception, Working memory, Interference, alpha activity

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10 Explaining Listening Comprehension among L2 Learners of English: The Contribution of Vocabulary Knowledge and Working Memory Capacity

Authors: Ahmed Masrai


Listening comprehension constitutes a considerable challenge for the second language (L2) learners, but a little is known about the explanatory power of different variables in explaining variance in listening comprehension. Since research in this area, to the researcher's knowledge, is relatively small in comparison to that focusing on the relationship between reading comprehension and factors such as vocabulary and working memory, there is a need for studies that are seeking to fill the gap in our knowledge about the specific contribution of working memory capacity (WMC), aural vocabulary knowledge and written vocabulary knowledge to explaining listening comprehension. Among 130 English as foreign language learners, the present study examines what proportion of the variance in listening comprehension is explained by aural vocabulary knowledge, written vocabulary knowledge, and WMC. Four measures were used to collect the required data for the study: (1) A-Lex, a measure of aural vocabulary knowledge; (2) XK-Lex, a measure of written vocabulary knowledge; (3) Listening Span Task, a measure of WMC and; (4) IELTS Listening Test, a measure of listening comprehension. The results show that aural vocabulary knowledge is the strongest predictor of listening comprehension, followed by WMC, while written vocabulary knowledge is the weakest predictor. The study discusses implications for the explanatory power of aural vocabulary knowledge and WMC to listening comprehension and pedagogical practice in L2 classrooms.

Keywords: Working memory, Second Language, listening Comprehension, vocabulary knowledge

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9 A Comparative Evaluation of Cognitive Load Management: Case Study of Postgraduate Business Students

Authors: Kavita Goel, Donald Winchester


In a world of information overload and work complexities, academics often struggle to create an online instructional environment enabling efficient and effective student learning. Research has established that students’ learning styles are different, some learn faster when taught using audio and visual methods. Attributes like prior knowledge and mental effort affect their learning. ‘Cognitive load theory’, opines learners have limited processing capacity. Cognitive load depends on the learner’s prior knowledge, the complexity of content and tasks, and instructional environment. Hence, the proper allocation of cognitive resources is critical for students’ learning. Consequently, a lecturer needs to understand the limits and strengths of the human learning processes, various learning styles of students, and accommodate these requirements while designing online assessments. As acknowledged in the cognitive load theory literature, visual and auditory explanations of worked examples potentially lead to a reduction of cognitive load (effort) and increased facilitation of learning when compared to conventional sequential text problem solving. This will help learner to utilize both subcomponents of their working memory. Instructional design changes were introduced at the case site for the delivery of the postgraduate business subjects. To make effective use of auditory and visual modalities, video recorded lectures, and key concept webinars were delivered to students. Videos were prepared to free up student limited working memory from irrelevant mental effort as all elements in a visual screening can be viewed simultaneously, processed quickly, and facilitates greater psychological processing efficiency. Most case study students in the postgraduate programs are adults, working full-time at higher management levels, and studying part-time. Their learning style and needs are different from other tertiary students. The purpose of the audio and visual interventions was to lower the students cognitive load and provide an online environment supportive to their efficient learning. These changes were expected to impact the student’s learning experience, their academic performance and retention favourably. This paper posits that these changes to instruction design facilitates students to integrate new knowledge into their long-term memory. A mixed methods case study methodology was used in this investigation. Primary data were collected from interviews and survey(s) of students and academics. Secondary data were collected from the organisation’s databases and reports. Some evidence was found that the academic performance of students does improve when new instructional design changes are introduced although not statistically significant. However, the overall grade distribution of student’s academic performance has changed and skewed higher which shows deeper understanding of the content. It was identified from feedback received from students that recorded webinars served as better learning aids than material with text alone, especially with more complex content. The recorded webinars on the subject content and assessments provides flexibility to students to access this material any time from repositories, many times, and this enhances students learning style. Visual and audio information enters student’s working memory more effectively. Also as each assessment included the application of the concepts, conceptual knowledge interacted with the pre-existing schema in the long-term memory and lowered student’s cognitive load.

Keywords: Working memory, cognitive load theory, learning style, instructional environment

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8 Working Memory Capacity and Motivation in Japanese English as a Foreign Language Learners' Speaking Skills

Authors: Akiko Kondo


Although the effects of working memory capacity on second/foreign language speaking skills have been researched in depth, few studies have focused on Japanese English as a foreign language (EFL) learners as compared to other languages (Indo-European languages), and the sample sizes of the relevant Japanese studies have been relatively small. Furthermore, comparing the effects of working memory capacity and motivation which is another kind of frequently researched individual factor on L2 speaking skills would add to the scholarly literature in the field of second language acquisition research. Therefore, the purposes of this study were to investigate whether working memory capacity and motivation have significant relationships with Japanese EFL learners’ speaking skills and to investigate the degree to which working memory capacity and motivation contribute to their English speaking skills. One-hundred and ten Japanese EFL students aged 18 to 26 years participated in this study. All of them are native Japanese speakers and have learned English as s foreign language for 6 to 15. They completed the Versant English speaking test, which has been widely used to measure non-native speakers’ English speaking skills, two types of working memory tests (the L1-based backward digit span test and the L1-based listening span test), and the language learning motivation survey. The researcher designed the working memory tests and the motivation survey. To investigate the relationship between the variables (English speaking skills, working memory capacity, and language learning motivation), a correlation analysis was conducted, which showed that L2 speaking test scores were significantly related to both working memory capacity and language learning motivation, although the correlation coefficients were weak. Furthermore, a multiple regression analysis was performed, with L2 speaking skills as the dependent variable and working memory capacity and language learning motivation as the independent variables. The results showed that working memory capacity and motivation significantly explained the variance in L2 speaking skills and that the L2 motivation had slightly larger effects on the L2 speaking skills than the working memory capacity. Although this study includes several limitations, the results could contribute to the generalization of the effects of individual differences, such as working memory and motivation on L2 learning, in the literature.

Keywords: Individual Differences, Motivation, Working memory, speaking skills

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7 Working Memory and Audio-Motor Synchronization in Children with Different Degrees of Central Nervous System's Lesions

Authors: Anastasia V. Kovaleva, Alena A. Ryabova, Vladimir N. Kasatkin


Background: The most simple form of entrainment to a sensory (typically auditory) rhythmic stimulus involves perceiving and synchronizing movements with an isochronous beat with one level of periodicity, such as that produced by a metronome. Children with pediatric cancer usually treated with chemo- and radiotherapy. Because of such treatment, psychologists and health professionals declare cognitive and motor abilities decline in cancer patients. The purpose of our study was to measure working memory characteristics with association with audio-motor synchronization tasks, also involved some memory resources, in children with different degrees of central nervous system lesions: posterior fossa tumors, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and healthy controls. Methods: Our sample consisted of three groups of children: children treated for posterior fossa tumors (PFT-group, n=42, mean age 12.23), children treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL-group, n=11, mean age 11.57) and neurologically healthy children (control group, n=36, mean age 11.67). Participants were tested for working memory characteristics with Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB). Pattern recognition memory (PRM) and spatial working memory (SWM) tests were applied. Outcome measures of PRM test include the number and percentage of correct trials and latency (speed of participant’s response), and measures of SWM include errors, strategy, and latency. In the synchronization tests, the instruction was to tap out a regular beat (40, 60, 90 and 120 beats per minute) in synchrony with the rhythmic sequences that were played. This meant that for the sequences with an isochronous beat, participants were required to tap into every auditory event. Variations of inter-tap-intervals and deviations of children’s taps from the metronome were assessed. Results: Analysis of variance revealed the significant effect of group (ALL, PFT and control) on such parameters as short-term PRM, SWM strategy and errors. Healthy controls demonstrated more correctly retained elements, better working memory strategy, compared to cancer patients. Interestingly that ALL patients chose the bad strategy, but committed significantly less errors in SWM test then PFT and controls did. As to rhythmic ability, significant associations of working memory were found out only with 40 bpm rhythm: the less variable were inter-tap-intervals of the child, the more elements in memory he/she could retain. The ability to audio-motor synchronization may be related to working memory processes mediated by the prefrontal cortex whereby each sensory event is actively retrieved and monitored during rhythmic sequencing. Conclusion: Our results suggest that working memory, tested with appropriate cognitive methods, is associated with the ability to synchronize movements with rhythmic sounds, especially in sub-second intervals (40 per minute).

Keywords: Working memory, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), audio-motor synchronization, posterior fossa tumor

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6 A Randomized Controlled Intervention Study of the Effect of Music Training on Mathematical and Working Memory Performances

Authors: Ingo Roden, Stefana Lupu, Mara Krone, Jasmin Chantah, Gunter Kreutz, Stephan Bongard, Dietmar Grube


The present experimental study examined the effects of music and math training on mathematical skills and visuospatial working memory capacity in kindergarten children. For this purpose, N = 54 children (mean age: 5.46 years; SD = .29) were randomly assigned to three groups. Children in the music group (n = 18) received weekly sessions of 60 min music training over a period of eight weeks, whereas children in the math group (n = 18) received the same amount of training focusing on mathematical basic skills, such as numeracy skills, quantity comparison, and counting objectives. The third group of children (n = 18) served as waiting controls. The groups were matched for sex, age, IQ and previous music experiences at baseline. Pre-Post intervention measurements revealed a significant interaction effect of group x time, showing that children in both music and math groups significantly improved their early numeracy skills, whereas children in the control group did not. No significant differences between groups were observed for the visuospatial working memory performances. These results confirm and extend previous findings on transfer effects of music training on mathematical abilities and visuospatial working memory capacity. They show that music and math interventions are similarly effective to enhance children’s mathematical skills. More research is necessary to establish, whether cognitive transfer effects arising from music interventions might facilitate children’s transition from kindergarten to first-grade.

Keywords: Working memory, transfer, music training, mathematical skills

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5 Phonological Encoding and Working Memory in Kannada Speaking Adults Who Stutter

Authors: Nirmal Sugathan, Santosh Maruthy


Background: A considerable number of studies have evidenced that phonological encoding (PE) and working memory (WM) skills operate differently in adults who stutter (AWS). In order to tap these skills, several paradigms have been employed such as phonological priming, phoneme monitoring, and nonword repetition tasks. This study, however, utilizes a word jumble paradigm to assess both PE and WM using different modalities and this may give a better understanding of phonological processing deficits in AWS. Aim: The present study investigated PE and WM abilities in conjunction with lexical access in AWS using jumbled words. The study also aimed at investigating the effect of increase in cognitive load on phonological processing in AWS by comparing the speech reaction time (SRT) and accuracy scores across various syllable lengths. Method: Participants were 11 AWS (Age range=19-26) and 11 adults who do not stutter (AWNS) (Age range=19-26) matched for age, gender and handedness. Stimuli: Ninety 3-, 4-, and 5-syllable jumbled words (JWs) (n=30 per syllable length category) constructed from Kannada words served as stimuli for jumbled word paradigm. In order to generate jumbled words (JWs), the syllables in the real words were randomly transpositioned. Procedures: To assess PE, the JWs were presently visually using DMDX software and for WM task, JWs were presented through auditory mode through headphones. The participants were asked to silently manipulate the jumbled words to form a Kannada real word and verbally respond once. The responses for both tasks were audio recorded using record function in DMDX software and the recorded responses were analyzed using PRAAT software to calculate the SRT. Results: SRT: Mann-Whitney test results demonstrated that AWS performed significantly slower on both tasks (p < 0.001) as indicated by increased SRT. Also, AWS presented with increased SRT on both the tasks in all syllable length conditions (p < 0.001). Effect of syllable length: Wilcoxon signed rank test was carried out revealed that, on task assessing PE, the SRT of 4syllable JWs were significantly higher in both AWS (Z= -2.93, p=.003) and AWNS (Z= -2.41, p=.003) when compared to 3-syllable words. However, the findings for 4- and 5-syllable words were not significant. Task Accuracy: The accuracy scores were calculated for three syllable length conditions for both PE and PM tasks and were compared across the groups using Mann-Whitney test. The results indicated that the accuracy scores of AWS were significantly below that of AWNS in all the three syllable conditions for both the tasks (p < 0.001). Conclusion: The above findings suggest that PE and WM skills are compromised in AWS as indicated by increased SRT. Also, AWS were progressively less accurate in descrambling JWs of increasing syllable length and this may be interpreted as, rather than existing as a uniform deficiency, PE and WM deficits emerge when the cognitive load is increased. AWNS exhibited increased SRT and increased accuracy for JWs of longer syllable length whereas AWS was not benefited from increasing the reaction time, thus AWS had to compromise for both SRT and accuracy while solving JWs of longer syllable length.

Keywords: Working memory, encoding, adults who stutter, phonological ability, jumbled words

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4 Verbal Working Memory in Sequential and Simultaneous Bilinguals: An Exploratory Study

Authors: Archana Rao R., Deepak P., Chayashree P. D., Darshan H. S.


Cognitive abilities in bilinguals have been widely studied over the last few decades. Bilingualism has been found to extensively facilitate the ability to store and manipulate information in Working Memory (WM). The mechanism of WM includes primary memory, attentional control, and secondary memory, each of which makes a contribution to WM. Many researches have been done in an attempt to measure WM capabilities through both verbal (phonological) and nonverbal tasks (visuospatial). Since there is a lot of speculations regarding the relationship between WM and bilingualism, further investigation is required to understand the nature of WM in bilinguals, i.e., with respect to sequential and simultaneous bilinguals. Hence the present study aimed to highlight the verbal working memory abilities in sequential and simultaneous bilinguals with respect to the processing and recall abilities of nouns and verbs. Two groups of bilinguals aged between 18-30 years were considered for the study. Group 1 consisted of 20 (10 males and 10 females) sequential bilinguals who had acquired L1 (Kannada) before the age of 3 and had exposure to L2 (English) for a period of 8-10 years. Group 2 consisted of 20 (10 males and 10 females) simultaneous bilinguals who have acquired both L1 and L2 before the age of 3. Working memory abilities were assessed using two tasks, and a set of stimuli which was presented in gradation of complexity and the stimuli was inclusive of frequent and infrequent nouns and verbs. The tasks involved the participants to judge the correctness of the sentence and simultaneously remember the last word of each sentence and the participants are instructed to recall the words at the end of each set. The results indicated no significant difference between sequential and simultaneous bilinguals in processing the nouns and verbs, and this could be attributed to the proficiency level of the participants in L1 and the alike cognitive abilities between the groups. And recall of nouns was better compared to verbs, maybe because of the complex argument structure involved in verbs. Similarly, authors found a frequency of occurrence of nouns and verbs also had an effect on WM abilities. The difference was also found across gradation due to the load imposed on the central executive function and phonological loop.

Keywords: bilinguals, Working memory, nouns, verbs

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3 Effects of Partial Sleep Deprivation on Prefrontal Cognitive Functions in Adolescents

Authors: Nurcihan Kiris


Restricted sleep is common in young adults and adolescents. The results of a few objective studies of sleep deprivation on cognitive performance were not clarified. In particular, the effect of sleep deprivation on the cognitive functions associated with frontal lobe such as attention, executive functions, working memory is not well known. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of partial sleep deprivation experimentally in adolescents on the cognitive tasks of frontal lobe including working memory, strategic thinking, simple attention, continuous attention, executive functions, and cognitive flexibility. Subjects of the study were recruited from voluntary students of Cukurova University. Eighteen adolescents underwent four consecutive nights of monitored sleep restriction (6–6.5 hr/night) and four nights of sleep extension (10–10.5 hr/night), in counterbalanced order, and separated by a washout period. Following each sleep period, cognitive performance was assessed, at a fixed morning time, using a computerized neuropsychological battery based on frontal lobe functions task, a timed test providing both accuracy and reaction time outcome measures. Only the spatial working memory performance of cognitive tasks was found to be statistically lower in a restricted sleep condition than the extended sleep condition. On the other hand, there was no significant difference in the performance of cognitive tasks evaluating simple attention, constant attention, executive functions, and cognitive flexibility. It is thought that especially the spatial working memory and strategic thinking skills of adolescents may be susceptible to sleep deprivation. On the other hand, adolescents are predicted to be optimally successful in ideal sleep conditions, especially in the circumstances requiring for the short term storage of visual information, processing of stored information, and strategic thinking. The findings of this study may also be associated with possible negative functional effects on the processing of academic social and emotional inputs in adolescents for partial sleep deprivation. Acknowledgment: This research was supported by Cukurova University Scientific Research Projects Unit.

Keywords: Attention, Working memory, Cognitive Functions, Sleep Deprivation

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2 Working Memory Growth from Kindergarten to First Grade: Considering Impulsivity, Parental Discipline Methods and Socioeconomic Status

Authors: Ayse Cobanoglu


Working memory can be defined as a workspace that holds and regulates active information in mind. This study investigates individual changes in children's working memory from kindergarten to first grade. The main purpose of the study is whether parental discipline methods and child impulsive/overactive behaviors affect children's working memory initial status and growth rate, controlling for gender, minority status, and socioeconomic status (SES). A linear growth curve model with the first four waves of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort of 2011 (ECLS-K:2011) is performed to analyze the individual growth of children's working memory longitudinally (N=3915). Results revealed that there is a significant variation among students' initial status in the kindergarten fall semester as well as the growth rate during the first two years of schooling. While minority status, SES, and children's overactive/impulsive behaviors influenced children's initial status, only SES and minority status were significantly associated with the growth rate of working memory. For parental discipline methods, such as giving a warning and ignoring the child's negative behavior, are also negatively associated with initial working memory scores. Following that, students' working memory growth rate is examined, and students with lower SES as well as minorities showed a faster growth pattern during the first two years of schooling. However, the findings of parental disciplinary methods on working memory growth rates were mixed. It can be concluded that schooling helps low-SES minority students to develop their working memory.

Keywords: Working memory, Parenting, growth curve modeling, impulsive/overactive behaviors

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1 The Impact of Study Abroad Experience on Interpreting Performance

Authors: Ruiyuan Wang, Jing Han, Bruno Di Biase, Mark Antoniou


The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between working memory (WM) capacity and Chinese-English consecutive interpreting (CI) performance in interpreting learners with different study abroad experience (SAE). Such relationship is not well understood. This study also examines whether Chinese interpreting learners with SAE in English-speaking countries, demonstrate a better performance in inflectional morphology and agreement, notoriously unstable in Chinese speakers of English L2, in their interpreting output than learners without SAE. Fifty Chinese university students, majoring in Chinese-English Interpreting, were recruited in Australia (n=25) and China (n=25). The two groups matched in age, language proficiency, and interpreting training period. Study abroad (SA) group has been studying in an English-speaking country (Australia) for over 12 months, and none of the students recruited in China (the no study abroad = NSA group) had ever studied or lived in an English-speaking country. Data on language proficiency and training background were collected via a questionnaire. Lexical retrieval performance and working memory (WM) capacity data were collected experimentally, and finally, interpreting data was elicited via a direct CI task. Main results of the study show that WM significantly correlated with participants' CI performance independently of learning context. Moreover, SA outperformed NSA learners in terms of subject-verb number agreement. Apart from that, WM capacity was also found to correlate significantly with their morphosyntactic accuracy. This paper sheds some light on the relationship between study abroad, WM capacity, and CI performance. Exploring the effect of study abroad on interpreting trainees and how various important factors correlate may help interpreting educators bring forward more targeted teaching paradigms for participants with different learning experiences.

Keywords: Working memory, study abroad experience, consecutive interpreting, inflectional agreement

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