DOI: 10.14704/nq.2018.16.2.1177

A Cognitive Therapy Intervention Programme Increases Working Memory in Students with Learning Disabilities

Nan Zhang, Yang Kong


The present study aimed to determine whether students with Learning Disabilities (LD) are able to increase working memory capacity and information processing speed, after 12 sessions of a cognitive therapy intervention programme. Our sample consisted of 24 students with LD (10 males) aged 9-11 years joined the study. The students randomly assigned to an exercise group (n = 12) and a control group (n = 12). Working memory capacity and information processing speed were assessed by Daneman & Carpenter's Working Memory Test, at before and after the programme. Differences between the exercise and control groups in before and after the intervention were evaluated using ANCOVA tests. At the end of the study, exercise group showed an increase in working memory capacity, while no changes in information processing speed were observed. We observed no differences in the percentage of information processing speed between the exercise and control groups at before or after the intervention. Overall, 12 sessions of the cognitive therapy intervention was an effective programme for increasing working memory capacity in students with LD; however, no changes in information processing speed were observed.


Cognitive Therapy, Working Memory Capacity, İnformation Processing Speed, Students With Learning Disabilities

Full Text:



Baddeley A. Working memory. Current Biology 2010; 20(4):R136-40.

Brandenburg J, Klesczewski J, Fischbach A, Schuchardt K, Büttner G, Hasselhorn M. Working memory in children with learning disabilities in reading versus spelling: Searching for overlapping and specific cognitive factors. Journal of Learning Disabilities 2015; 48(6):622-34.

Chapman G, Tunmer J. The effects of mental comprehension strategies in learning disabled student. Journal of Learning Disabilities 2004; 18: 111-22.

Dahlin KI. Effects of working memory training on reading in children with special needs. Reading and Writing 2011; 24(4):479-91.

Daneman M, Carpenter PA. Individual differences in working memory and reading. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 1980; 19(4):450-66.

DeDe G, Ricca M, Knilans J, Trubl B. Construct validity and reliability of working memory tasks for people with aphasia. Aphasiology 2014; 28(6):692-712.

Dembo MH. Applying educational psychology. Longman/Addison Wesley Longman, 1994.

Ivanova MV, Hallowell B. A new modified listening span task to enhance validity of working memory assessment for people with and without aphasia. Journal of Communication Disorders 2014; 52: 78-98.

Jordan DR. Attention Deficit Disorder: ADHD and ADD Srandormes (second Edition). Austin, Texos: Pro. Ed. 1992.

Kaneda M, Osaka N. Role of anterior cingulate cortex during semantic coding in verbal working memory. Neuroscience Letters 2008; 436(1):57-61.

Klingberg T, Fernell E, Olesen PJ, Johnson M, Gustafsson P, Dahlström K, Gillberg CG, Forssberg H, Westerberg H. Computerized training of working memory in children with ADHD-a randomized, controlled trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 2005; 44(2):177-86.

Lerner J W. Learning disabilities: Theories, diagnosis, and teaching strategies. 9th ed. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 2003.

Loosli SV, Buschkuehl M, Perrig WJ, Jaeggi SM. Working memory training improves reading processes in typically developing children. Child Neuropsychology 2012;18(1): 62-78.

Mattison RE, Mayes SD. Relationships between learning disability, executive function, and psychopathology in children with ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders 2012; 16(2):138-46.

Moreno J, Saldaña D. Use of a computer-assisted program to improve metacognition in persons with severe intellectual disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities 2005; 26(4):341-57.

Schiff R, Bauminger N, Toledo I. Analogical problem solving in children with verbal and nonverbal learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities 2009; 42: 3-13.

Schmeichel BJ, Demaree HA. Working memory capacity and spontaneous emotion regulation: high capacity predicts self-enhancement in response to negative feedback. Emotion 2010; 10(5):739-44.

Shiran A, Breznitz Z. The effect of cognitive training on recall range and speed of information processing in the working memory of dyslexic and skilled readers. Journal of Neurolinguistics 2011; 24(5):524-37.

Solaz Portolés JJ, Sanjosé López V. Cognitive variables in science problem solving: A review of research. Journal of Physics Teacher Education Online, 2007; 4(2):25-32.

Swanson HL, Kehler P, Jerman O. Working memory, strategy knowledge, and strategy instruction in children with reading disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities 2010; 43(1):24-47.

Wang Z. Neurofeedback Training Intervention for Enhancing Working Memory Function in Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Chinese Students. NeuroQuantology 2017; 15(2): 277-83.

Zhiyang HA. The Effectiveness of a Training Programme in Obsessive-Compulsive Patients' Behavioral Inhibition: Improving Emotional Working Memory. NeuroQuantology 2017; 15(3):136-41.

Supporting Agencies

Shandong social science program research project (No. 15DGLJ01).

| NeuroScience + QuantumPhysics> NeuroQuantology :: Copyright 2001-2017