John Libbey Eurotext

Gériatrie et Psychologie Neuropsychiatrie du Vieillissement


Working memory training in normal and pathological aging: neurocognitive gains and generalization Volume 18, issue 2, Juin 2020

1 Université de Paris, MC2Lab, Boulogne-Billancourt, France
2 Service de gériatrie aiguë, Hôpital Tenon, AP-HP, Sorbonne Université, Paris, France
* Correspondance

Working memory is one of the cognitive functions that is the most sensitive to normal and pathological age-related effects. In older individuals with a mild cognitive impairment, deficits in working memory are frequent and can precede those of episodic memory, in addition to having a strong prognostic value of evolution toward a dementia of Alzheimer type. Because of its implication in numerous cognitive and cognitive-motor tasks, working memory is called upon in a wide range of daily life activities. Impairment in working memory therefore increases the risk of a loss of autonomy. In the current review, we present different working memory training programs. We show how these training programs are associated with specific effects and to near and far transfers towards other cognitive functions in older adults without cognitive impairment or with mild cognitive impairment, as well as in patients with dementia. We show that the benefits are confirmed by neuronal modifications, suggesting an improvement in the neuronal efficiency of the targeted or related trained processes. Finally, we consider the central question of the generalization of the cognitive gains of working memory training toward ecological situations.