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A meta-analysis of the experimental evidence on the near- and far-transfer effects among children's executive function skills.

Authors
  • Kassai, Reka1
  • Futo, Judit2
  • Demetrovics, Zsolt2
  • Takacs, Zsofia K2
  • 1 Doctoral School of Psychology, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University.
  • 2 Institute of Education, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Psychological bulletin
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2019
Volume
145
Issue
2
Pages
165–188
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1037/bul0000180
PMID: 30652908
Source
Medline
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

In the present meta-analysis we examined the near- and far-transfer effects of training components of children's executive functions skills: working memory, inhibitory control, and cognitive flexibility. We found a significant near-transfer effect (g+ = 0.44, k = 43, p < .001) showing that the interventions in the primary studies were successful in training the targeted components. However, we found no convincing evidence of far-transfer (g+ = 0.11, k = 17, p = .11). That is, training a component did not have a significant effect on the untrained components. By showing the absence of benefits that generalize beyond the trained components, we question the practical relevance of training specific executive function skills in isolation. Furthermore, the present results might explain the absence of far-transfer effects of working memory training on academic skills (Melby-Lervag & Hulme, 2013; Sala & Gobet, 2017). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

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